This summer has been so mild and delightful, I haven’t had the normal cooking aversion that keeps me out of the kitchen and away from any appliance that doesn’t generate billowing blasts of cold air. Indeed, cooking and grilling have been entirely pleasant, and even time spent in the garden hasn’t left me dragging my bones into a miserable heap in front of the cold-air-blasting appliance.
August, I think I love you.
The one bummer about a cool summer is that standard tomatoes take forever to ripen. Tomatoes like heat, and lots of it. I have plenty of cherry tomatoes, but the Brandywines and Cherokee Purples have slowed considerably.
But that’s okay. The peppers are loving it, and it’s rare to have almost all of my peppers and chilis ripening to red in early August.
You won’t hear me complaining.
Because it lets me make dishes like this:
A riff on a superb recipe by Deborah Madison from one of my favorite cookbooks, “Vegetable Literacy,” a simple saute of garden herbs and vegetables has been my quick lunch go-to this month.
Frying peppers, like the Jimmy Nardello cultivar that I grow, are long and narrow and twisty, and resemble plump, feel-the-burn cayennes. They are, however, very sweet, like bell peppers, and their thin walls lets them cook up quickly.
Which is a good thing, when you’ve got a case of the hangries.
Frying peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, and a big helping of parsley and mint (yes, mint! It goes so well with vegetable dishes that I always have a big pot of it growing on my garden work bench), without or with a helping of protein, makes for a fresh and satisfying meal. (If you don’t have access to frying peppers, it’s no problem to substitute a bell — just factor in a little more cooking time.)
School starts this week for the kiddos around here, and while I’m looking forward to the stores being quiet during the day 😉 I also can’t believe how fast we’re plunging into autumn. Starbucks announced that Pumpkin Spice Lattes will arrive next week. Next week! Whoooa. Slow down, Mr. Time, I gots lots of peppers to enjoy first!
Frying Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes & Chicken Sausage Saute
- 20 cherry tomatoes sliced into halves or thirds
- 12 Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons capers rinsed
- olive oil
- 1 8- ounce link chicken sausage sliced into disks on the diagonal
- 4 large frying peppers or 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, sliced
- 1 tablespoon mint chopped
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the tomatoes, olives, garlic and capers in a bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fold gently to coat. Season with a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until gently shimmering. Add the sausage and cook until the edges are brown and the sausage is cooked all the way through. Add the peppers and saute until soft and seared, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato mixture to the pan and saute for one minute. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper over the top.
adapted from “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison