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September 21, 2011

Recipe: Italian-Style Fried Peppers

By Jillian Teta

I lost my grandma this summer. She was an amazing cook. Her name was Violet and she was Italian. If you know people of Italian descent, they just love being Italian :)

One of the strangest things about my grandma being gone is thinking about how I will never eat any of the food she cooks again, ever. Her food had it’s own unique taste and signature, and now it’s all gone.

I was never a big fan of peppers, especially green bell peppers. I burp them up (sorry if that is TMI). My grandma used peppers in a variety of ways, including stuffed Italian peppers (luckily she rarely used bell peppers in her cooking – whew!) and she made plain ol’ fried peppers.

Keoni and I get a CSA box weekly. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. So, we get a box of veggies from our local farmer each week. And like Forrest Gump says about a box of chocolate, we never know what we’re gonna get.

This whole summer, we got a whole lot of peppers. “Ugh!” I said, “I can’t stand peppers! Gross!” I ended up giving a lot away, force feeding raw ones to Keoni, or just composting them.

Then Grandma died, and I missed her in all kinds of ways. Our CSA box sat on the counter, full of all different types of peppers: red sweet, banana, poblano, and these hot ones named “fish peppers”.

I busted out my heavy pan and the good olive oil, and I cooked those babies right up. They were the best peppers ever and it helped me to feel close to my grandmother.

Since then, I’ve been making them about once a week. I love to toss them with shredded chicken and a bit of brown rice. I eat them plain, I eat them sprinkled with almond cheese, I eat them sprinkled with fresh basil. They are quite versatile. Here is the recipe:

4-5 sweet red long peppers, banana peppers, poblanos, or a mixture of all; cut into rounds or strips
Non-stick cooking spray
1-2 TB olive oil (optional if you are in contest mode or not)
½ onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
dash sea salt

Bring pan up to medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add 1 TB olive oil, garlic and onions. Stir until they just begin to brown and throw in peppers, stir and cover. Let cook for several minutes, and then stir again and cover. The idea is that you want the skin on the peppers to get slightly blistery and carmelized, this really adds extra-awesomeness to the flavor. Cook until tender and blistery, about 12-15 minutes. Finish with extra 1Tb of olive oil and sea salt. Serves 4-5.  Enjoy!

More Recipes from Jillian: Gluten-free Griddle Cakes w/ Sizzled Cherries

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