Monday, 24 October 2011
Bye for now my Sweet Shepherd's Peppers
At this time of year I silently mourn the end of Shepherd's peppers. Not to be seen in any grocery store around here til sometime late next summer, they disappear unsung...no quiet ceremony bidding them goodbye, no poem to describe how unique and glorious they are. Am I the only one wondering why these heavenly sweet-tasting peppers can't be available year-round? Assuming they can be grown in local greenhouses, I figure my wish is well within the 100-mile radius for food lovers so I don't understand why we're bombarded with the other variety of red pepper for the rest of the year, a pepper which I find so ill-tasting I can't even bear to bring one home anymore.
I know I've roasted and preserved a bushel of Shepherd's and they're protected by my cantina walls right now but it's not the same. Fresh is fresh. And so this spoiled brat said a silent prayer in her kitchen this past weekend to keep all local farmers-- especially those who grow Shepherd's peppers-- safe over the winter months until we enjoy their precious produce again next year. My quiet ceremony paired a few Shepherd's with other favorite veggies for a macedonia, a mix of veggies for a stir-fry that goes great with steak, chicken, meatballs-- even pizza and pasta.
Here's my recipe: along with your peppers, wash and cut up celery, mushrooms and rapini. Add a generous amount of olive oil to a heavy-bottomed skillet. Once warm, add two to three large cloves of minced garlic and peperoncino to your taste. Cook and stir for a minute or two. Add rapini and celery and cook, (always stirring on medium heat) for a few more minutes. Add mushrooms and peppers, and when almost fully cooked, half a cup of finely grated parmigiano. I add an onion or two to almost everything I cook but I didn't this time. I think onion would add great flavor as would other veggies. See what works for you, the combinations are endless. I'll be looking for substitutes til I spot the first of the Shepherd's peppers next year. God bless farmers everywhere. Buon appetito! Buon pranzo.