Conserva Di Peperoni
Conserva Di Peperoni Preparation
Heres a recipe for a traditional sun dried pepper preserve from southern Italy. It is quite hard to find in shops or market as most people stopped using it: Ive seen it sold only once, in the Vucciaria market in Palermo. The preparation is fairly easy but time spending and it should be done when you get hot sunny days. Havent tried it yet but will this summer. Seed and devein the peppers. Cut them roughly into stripes and cook in a covered pot with the other ingredients untill most water (from the peppers) has evaporated and the peppers are soft. Using a sieve separate the pepper "pulp" and juices from the skin. Place the pepper sauce obtained in several large flat plates covered with mosquito net or something similar to keep bugs away and place all day long in direct sunlight and bring inside at night. Stir 2-3 times a day with a wooden spoon as the drying will be stronger near plate rim. The "conserva" is ready when it has reduced to 1 Kg - 700 g i.e. when it sticks to the spoon and remains firm. It should be dark red. If you get rainy days you can dry it in the oven (setting it at 70-80 ?C) in one or two days. Storage: this preparation is usually put in sterilized glass jars and covered with a little oil. To me this seems the ideal conditions for botulism but a friend of mine who works in a food analisys lab thinks the salt (1/10 to 1/7 of total weight) acts as a preservative plus water content is very low. You could anyway sterilize (maybe this has been explained before) by wrapping the jars in old towels and putting them in a deep pot covered with water. Bring to boil, lower heat and continue slow boiling for 45 min. Peppers used: Corno di Toro red are the traditional ones but this could work well with all chiles big enough (so that seeding and deveining wont take ages) I think NM chiles and maybe anchos too could work well. Uses: To be used this "conserva" has to be diluted in some liquid medium (water, milk, wine) usually 1 Tbs in 1/2 cup. Ive recently tasted a pasta dish made with conserva di peperoni dissolved in cream and then warmed over low flame with basil: Deeelicious! Traditionally this preparation is used, in Napoli, to make Soffritto a dish prepared with pigs lungs, heart and liver (what bout some sphincters? :->). Non-chile related topic: Last week-end in Italy ther has been the "Open Cellars" event. Many wine makers open their cellars for guided visits, free wine tastings, free food (only in some cellars). Ive been visiting those near Avellino and had a great time. If you happend to be in Italy in May try to be here on the last sunday of the month as the "Open Cellars" is repeated every year. Posted to CHILE-HEADS DIGEST V3 #339 by Alberto Chinali
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