Monday, August 25, 2014

All that pepper

It seems after watermelon, peppers are the best growers in my garden. And, I am in habit of making sure I grow enough varieties that from the tip to the back of my tongue receives notice of their season. The yellow banana and red pimento are terrifically sweet and the poblano straddles sweet, bitter, and hot. Then there is the straight-up fiery assault of the Thai bird’s beak, chocolate habanero and jalapeno, all of which I prefer to let fully ripen just to make sure their potency is fully apprecited. When the jalapeno is still green they are more like bonsai bell peppers to me. Unfortunately, I am married to the biggest “heat” wimp ever. He starts sweating profusely when I use a slightly ripening poblano. He chides me that I use chili sauce like most Americans use ketchup, and on this he is right. I have learned that on average I will go through about 2-plus quarts of chili a year. And, just think I grew up in a house with a small bottle of Tabasco in the door of the refrigerator, and an age worn, red and white tin of cayenne pepper probably moved from kitchen to kitchen by my mom.

The hotter chilies are no longer to be grown in any great quantity since they are primarily for me. However, three poblano plants and four sweet feed us bountifully during the summer, and gives me plenty to slice and freeze for winter’s soups and stews. So, while the black flea beetle clings to the leaves of my eggplant feeding its addiction, just across the path my peppers grow tall, bushy and don’t seem to want to stop flowering. While the summer sun pours down baking rays I will dry a couple of batches for homemade ancho chilies otherwise, it is another incarnation of peppers tonight.

Wilted Peppers with White Beans – serves 4
4 poblano peppers – seeds discarded

1-large onion – thinly sliced
2-garlic cloves – thinly sliced
13.5 ounce canned white beans – drained and rinsed
2-tablespoons olive oil
1-cup cherry tomatoes
1-tablespoon chopped summer savory leaves
3-cups packed chopped amaranth or spinach leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

After removing the seeds from the peppers slice them into no more than ¼-inch thick strips.

In a 10-inch sauté pan add the peppers, onions, garlic, white beans and olive oil, and cook over a low flame for about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir the mixture every so often in order not prevent it from scorching. Mix in the cherry tomatoes, summer savory, chopped leaves, and salt and pepper. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer. Serve warm on a crostini or over a grilled pork chop.


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