Paleo Recipes from Scappa Trattoria

On Sunday March 3, some of the CrossFit Mercer crew went to Scappa | A Brick Oven Trattoria. Chris Stevens, the owner and chef, prepared Fish Cakes and Paleo muffins for us. I have to say, both the fish cakes and the muffins were fantastic. The muffins had sugar on top for texture, so that part is technically not paleo. I scraped it off, but the recipe doesn’t include the sugar topping. Instead of honey, you can use agave syrup.

Chris is also a member of CrossFit member, so he has an interest is what we are trying to do.

Fish Cakes with Lemon Caper Aioli

  • 6 ounces Flounder of white fish
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp real mayonnaise (or home made mayo) [avoid most conventional oils: canola oil, veg oil, seed oil, peanut oil]
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese (skip this if you are not doing dairy)
  • 1/2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/2 tbsp almond meal (ground up almonds) or almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp dried minced onions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil) for frying
  • aioli sauce: 1/2 cup real mayonnaise, 4 cloves garlic minced, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, 2 tbsp capers, 1 tbsp fresh parsley, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 pinch black bepper
Cooking Steps:
  1. Fresh flounder or white fish (ground up)
  2. Combine all ingredients, except olive oil and sauce ingredients, in mixing bowl
  3. Heat olive oil in frying pan on medium high heat
  4. Form patties with hands, and drop into fry pan
  5. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned and crusted
  6. Make sure it is browned before flipping over
Aolio sauce:
  1. mix all ingredients in bowl
  2. cover and refrigerate
  3. can be made in advance, so it can chill while patties are cooking
  • You can use tuna or white fish, crab, shrimp or scallop (he used day boat flounder) grounded up.
  • If you are going to get fish, get it from Whole Foods or Wegmans. You’ll pay more but definitely get a better product.
  • When you puree fish, it will congeal well (it won’t fall apart).
  • Be careful with Almond milk unless its unsweetened. Blue Diamond unsweetened is pretty good, and ShopRite sometimes has it on sale. (Thanks Delaney).
  • The oil he used is half extra virgin olive oil and half coconut oil. The issue is coconut oil changes color when you bring it to a certain temperature. Also, the smoking point is higher, so it doesn’t burn anything.
  • You can also bake the cakes in the oven, but Chris’ opinion is it tastes better with a little fat with it.
  • Sear the cakes off, then put them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 7 or 8 minutes
  • Salad prep trick: If you are making salad, don’t douse the greens with the dressing. Best thing is to put it on the side of the bowl, then toss it against the side of the bowl. It doesn’t drown the lettuce, and it spreads it out evenly.
  • You can also make the fish cakes smaller as an h’orderve, or larger like a crab cake.
  • Next week he will post another recipe, figs wrapped in bacon.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (Whole Foods or Wegmans have organic dark choc chips)

Cooking steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. line a muffin pan with muffin cups
  3. In a large bown, mix together coconut oil and honey. Whisk in eggs until combined. Add in vanilla and mix.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips and fill the muffin liners 2/3 full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Miscellaneous stuff we chatted about:

  • I asked if sweet potatoes are paleo or not. Avoid regular yellow and white potatoes. Sweet potatoes in moderation are fine on Paleo, and I need them because of my endurance events. I found this article which defends sweet potatoes on Paleo. They have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes.
  • It was recommended I check out Brian MacKenzie’s blog, since I do endurance events.
  • 3Fuel – try it for endurance events while on Paleo. Keeps you fueled on long, endurance runs.
  • A few people recommended Aqua Hydrate performance water. Apparently this was created by Mark Wahlberg and Puff Daddy (working with John Cochran from Fiji water), haha.
  • Take a look at Beach Plums from Jalma Farms, high in antioxidants.
  • Check out the website for CrossFit-related t-shirts.
  • Make Kale Chips on your own. It’s easy and much cheaper than buying them. Make them crispy enough, and add a spicy hot sauce. 350 for 10 to 20 minutes, flipping them around half way (thanks to Katy).
  • If you do the 30 day whole food challenge: Don’t try to re-create junk food with paleo ingredients because you want to eliminate the desire for sugar.

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