Seasonal Showcase: Peppers

As far as produce goes, every season has something special to offer. Fall has copious amounts of wild mushrooms. Winter is loaded with root vegetables and hearty greens. Spring offers a reprieve from the long winter days with bright green English peas and grassy asparagus. And of course summer is the most bountiful of all with…well, you name it and summer has it.

I look most forward to the later part of this season when peppers and chiles are in full stride. My favorites are the Hungarian hot-wax peppers that are long, slender spicy peppers that range from a yellow-green to an orange-red color. You may run across these beauties this time of year at your local farmers’ market.

This pepper and I share a relatively long history together. Where I was brought up in Northeast Ohio, the Italians grew as many peppers as possible so they could pack them in oil, can them or preserve them to be enjoyed until the next year’s harvest. It was a source of pride for families to share their season’s preparations with each other and debate who had the best, the sweetest and the hottest peppers. The first item to show up at the table in local Italian restaurants was a dish of Hungarian hot–wax peppers packed in oil with a side of warm, soft Italian bread for dipping. Truly heaven!

So, that time of year has come to celebrate these peppers and make them a focal point on of our next round of specials. Please welcome the Pulcinella pizza, “Nancy’s” Salad and Gnocchi with Sausage & Spicy Marinara. But like all great things, they are available only for a limited time through October 7.

Brian Gojdics, Executive Chef