When trying to cook in season some of the hardiest riders on the produce truck are peppers. One of my personal favorites with an exceptionally long growing season, March to about September or perhaps October with this year’s weather, are long hots. They are a great addition to any dinner but beware. While they don’t have the guaranteed heat of their capsaicin filled brethren the habaneros or heaven forbid Scotch Bonnets, long hots are (in the paraphrased words of Forrest Gump) like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
When cooking in season you have to be a bit fluid with your dish ideas since there is no guarantee what will end up at the market. Likewise, you might set out with one dish in mind for long hots but if while handling them your very fingertips begin to tingle and burn you might have to shift gears to keep from sending your dinner guests into a fit of tears!
Thus in the Wood household we have two stand-by recipes to handle the long hots roulette—Long Hots Jersey Style and Stuffed Long Hots.
Long Hots Jersey Style (to tame the heat)
– Preheat the oven to 375° Cover a cooking sheet in foil and put a nice glug of vegetable oil (don’t want to smoke out the kitchen with scorched olive oil. You can add that for taste to the finished dish.) Put your cleaned, dried, and de-stemmed peppers on the sheet and toss to coat.
– The roasting can take up to 40 minutes. Gently turn the peppers every 15 minutes, taking them out when they are softened and just beginning to get some brown edges.
– Move the roasted peppers to a bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let cool.
– With your hands (if they begin to burn, please do use plastic gloves!) remove the loosened skins. Split down the middle of the pepper. I use my thumb to rub down the length of the inside vein to get rid of the majority of the seeds where a lot of the heat lives. Discard the skins and seeds.
– To taste: add a nice, simple marinara sauce (I recommend Don Pepino), diced tomatoes, grated garlic, salt, and pepper.
– Serve with toasted bread.
Stuffed Long Hots
Prosciutto (you’ll need about 1 slice per two peppers, but I always buy extra and use it to fold up around the plate for snacking)
Provolone cheese, grated
– Preheat the oven to 350.
– Cut down the length of each pepper, removing the seeds and ribs while leaving the stem attached for easy serving. Coat with oil and place in a glass dish.
– Pull a piece of prosciutto in half, stuff inside the pepper, and follow with a nice stuffing of the sharp provolone.
– Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the peppers start to wrinkle and soften.
– Let cool slightly before serving. The juices and cheese can do a number on the roof of your mouth!