Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fried Italian Peppers

Living in the flats in the East Bay, near the Bay and west of the Berkeley Hills, my garden doesn't get all that much heat during the summer. I can't complain that we rarely experience the typical 90F degree climate of the eastern part of the county but this does make it tricky to grow the warm temperature vegetables like eggplant, peppers, and melons. Last year, though, I took a chance on planting an Italian frying pepper and a Padrón pepper and got lucky in that they both did quite well. This gave me the confidence to try a few more of each this year and again I've gotten a good yield.

One of the treats I remember in growing up on Long Island were fried peppers cooked by Italian grandmothers in my neighborhood using peppers they harvested from home gardens and wanted to recreate it myself. I got the idea for this recipe from the video site Laura in the Kitchen, substituting the bell peppers she uses with the frying peppers from my garden. This is a very simple dish and absolutely beyond delicious when using peppers either right from the plant or from a good source at a farmer's market when in season.

A mix of peppers from the garden and the Berkeley Farmer's market

Sautéing garlic cloves

7-8 Italian frying peppers (bell peppers can be substituted)
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly smashed with the side of a chef's knife
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt

Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and slice lengthwise into thin strips. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves. Once the garlic has gotten a good color add the pepper slices. Let the peppers get a good color (about 5 minutes) then reduce the heat to low. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring them occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.
Remove from heat and serve.

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