If they say mornings are meant for coffee and contemplation, then I say afternoons are meant for listening to old Ina Garten podcast appearances and attempting to reclaim recipes from my youth.
When I moved out of my parent’s house, my mom gifted me with a book filled with hand-written recipes. Most of her recipes are complete with measurements and methods, but the recipe for Italian Frying Peppers was simply a list of ingredients.
It’s been 25 years since I’ve had those peppers, and armed with a strong taste memory and a sparse “recipe,” I set to work on recreating them.
They may not be exactly like my mom’s recipe, but they’re pretty darn close.
Italian Frying Peppers
12 anchovies in oil with capers
1 clove minced garlic
4-6 cubanelle peppers
2 tbs parsley
1 loaf of crusty Italian bread (the soft interior only)
1/4 cup pecorino romano
Salt and pepper to taste
Vinegar ( 1-2 tbs for the stuffing, a bit more to wash the peppers)
Water (1/2 cup, plus 2-3 tbs)
Slice off tops with of the cubanelle peppers. Pull out seeds. Rinse pepper interior with vinegar passing vinegar to consecutive peppers. Give peppers a quick rinse with cold water. Dry thoroughly with a cloth. Set aside.
Remove the white, soft interior from a crusty loaf of Italian bread. Tear into little pieces and toss into a bowl. To the bowl, add parsley, garlic, cheese, anchovies and capers (not the oil they’re packaged in), salt and pepper. Add 1-2 tbs of vinegar, depending on how strong you want to make the mixture and how much bread you get from your loaf (I had about 3 cups of bread crumbs and added about 1 1/2 tbs of vinegar). Add 1/2 cup water, plus 2-3 tbs, until the mixture is moist enough to combine. Break down anchovies with a fork (or, if you’re a savage like me, your hands), and make sure the cheese, anchovies, capers, and parsley are incorporated throughout the entire bread mixture. The bread mixture should be moist, like an uncooked Thanksgiving stuffing, but not sopping wet.
In a frying pan, heat a thin layer of canola oil.
While the oil is heating, fill the peppers. I stuffed mine over the top of the pepper. I planned poorly and should have brought 6 cubanelles. If you planned wisely, fill the peppers just to the top. If you planned poorly, pile them with stuffing until they look like ice cream cones (no sense losing any delicious filling to poor shopping!).
Once the oil is hot, fry the peppers. Cook roughly 6 minutes per side, rotating so each side of the pepper is nicely browned and cooked through.
Fuck yeah, mangia!