The aroma of the house smells of garlic sauteing in pure olive oil. A hint of spiciness through the air to tingle the nostrils, yet attract my hunger. I rush downstairs to see what’s going on, what’s cooking? My grandma(or nonna as we called her) in the kitchen, making what the family likes to call “peppers.”
Peppers, or as some could refer it to pepperonata are just one of those many things I miss from my nonnas cooking. They were like a snack or small bite before the main meal; an antipasti if you will. Layed out in the middle of the table, I always remember mason jar filled with this stewy goodness. Sweet and hot peppers, garlic, tomatoes and crusty bread along-side in order to eat them properly. Very simple, yet so delectable, I could eat these everyday, all day!
When peppers and tomatoes are thriving in the summer months is the best time to make this contorni. A simple blend of sweet Italian peppers, hot peppers, jalapeños, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and a few other small pinches of ingredients. It’s really simple, but as my family would say, everyone that came from the south of Italy (Calabria) had their own twist on dishes, and needless to say my grandma had the best twist.
I now find myself in the middle of summer, surrounded by nothing but an abundance of great produce. I have to do it; I’m craving that sweet heat. Peppers are my goal for today’s agenda.
I pick up any and every pepper that looks like it would be fit for this dish and other key ingredients to go along. When I say any and every pepper, I am obviously just throwing in peppers that are not traditionally to go along(or maybe they are and I didn’t even know it!). I rush home to get started because I know it takes a little time to get these peppers stewed to perfection, plus I have to be at work in a few hours. Rough chop everything, however you prefer it and pretty much toss everything together in a skillet. Almost like a one pot wonder. Let it stew for at least an hour or two.
Jalapeños are the pepper that’s going to give you the most spice. I like to add a lot, to see just how hot I can reach my limit. If I need to cool down the batch, I toss in some sugar to taste. Don’t add too much, otherwise you will be eating candied peppers; not so satisfying.
My favorite thing to eat when I am with the family, or even just by myself. Ripping bread over the table, crumbs fall every where. Spicy peppers to spread atop, maybe some cheese to cool the palate. Let me not forget a beverage, for most around the table it’s wine. Maybe prosecco, or a white of some sort.
Ahh, I love it! The best part is, that’s just the snack in my house, you haven’t even seen the main course yet!
My grandma was inspiration in my eyes. She always knew how to make a great meal, no matter what it was, and for that I have to thank her. Providing a little information on her peppers with everyone that’s interested, is something I like to think of as, “a secret being revealed.” So take the information, and run. Make your own at home and enjoy yourself around a table of people that share the same heart as you. A love for food!