If there’s one vegetable which ignites my senses its the pepper. Peppers in Napoli are huge and fragrant, very unlike the uniform offerings we find here in the UK. I recall images of dark, stocky market men handling the multi coloured monsters from the back of three wheeler make-shift stalls. What better way to celebrate peppers than to marry them with other Mediterranean flavours.
We make peperonata on most special family occasions and this recipe is straight from the Neapolitan kitchen & a hand me down from my Nonna Lucia.
Serves 6 – 8:
10 Bell Peppers
3/4 cup Black Olives
1/2 cup Capers
3 Garlic Cloves
3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
Bunch of Basil OR Flat leaf Parsley
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 /2 tsp Salt
Preheat Oven to 220 degrees.
Prepare the peppers by cutting around the core with a thin sharp knife. Pull out the core and discard along with seeds (simply shake upside down!)
Place peppers upside down on a roasting tin and roast in a hot oven until skins begin to bubble and blacken. Remove and place in a bowl, covering immediately with cling film. Once cooled the skins are easily removable.
Pull flesh into strips and set aside.
In a deep-frying pan, heat olive oil (you can be quite generous with it) and lightly fry olives, capers and smashed garlic cloves over a low flame. Add peppers to the infused oil then turn heat up. Continue to heat for another 5 minutes and taste for seasoning then scoop out, placing on a serving dish.
Replace frying pan back on heat and fry the breadcrumbs until golden brown – they will have soaked up all the flavoursome juices.
Sprinkle on top of the peppers, along with fresh herbs. Serve (as always) at room temperature.