Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sicilian Pepper Salad

History:  This recipe was never written down, but I grew up having it in the fridge all the time.  Growing up in Southern Colorado meant the peppers that we had access to were anaheim peppers. My mother and father would buy them by the bushels and we would roast them up and freeze them in big freezer bags. My Nonna who was on the east coast would make this with red and green peppers.
When we went to Italy last fall, I'd hoped to see this somewhere on our travels, but I didn't see it on a menu or in our relatives homes. Perhaps it is because it is so simple that the relatives didn't want to serve us such a common item.  It is so simple and so good.

Roasting Peppers

 As a young child and all through my growing up, I watched my mother and father roast peppers. They would get them by the bushels right from the farmers and roast them all up and freeze them in small bags.
There are many ways to roast peppers, but I am going to give you the way our family roasted them.

My parents roasted them on a gas grill. They blackened the peppers and put them in a paper sack to cool. My mom always said that the paper sack helped them to sweat off the skins. I don't know if it is true, but I do it exactly like she does it.

My Nonna was on the east coast. She roasted red bell peppers, and it is because of her that they are my favorite pepper. She roasted peppers by placing them under the broiler on a cookie sheet covered with foil.

Here is the recipe that started with Nonna, and continued with my mother. We called it pepper salad

  • 1 lbs peppers which you will roast, peel, and seed. (In this picture I used anaheims and red bell peppers)
  • Italian plum tomatoes crushed 15oz (My mom always bought Progresso Italian tomatoes - she said that the cheaper brands were not as good. You can see what I have access to in Texas in the picture above)
  • Garlic (I use the garlic in the jar and put about a tablespoon. My thoughts is you can never have to much garlic, but you can adjust if you think it is to much)
  1. Put  a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat
  2. Make long thin strips of the peppers. I usually do it with my hands
  3. Put garlic in pan and fry until golden (don't burn)
  4. Add tomatoes and then place the slivered peppers in the pan
  5. You will stir around until all the water from the peppers and tomatoes has cooked out - could take 20 minutes or so.
  6. Place pepper tomato mixture in a container and add a tablespoon of oil and garlic salt to taste
  7. Serve cold as side dish - we like it in tortillias with cheese, on top of salads, and served right next to some pasta.
Buon Apetito!

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