Sweet & Sour Peppers With Raisins & Capers {Peperonata Agrodolce}


Our home in Umbria sits on top of a hill, which is great most of the time as we usually get a breeze, even on the hottest of days. The last couple of days however, have been so windy that I’m worried if I let my little Yorkie out on her own she will be blown away. I am joking, but I do not remember getting this much wind for such an extended period. My husband is upset as he thinks our olives will be torn right off the trees, leaving us nothing left to harvest in October. I keep looking out my window at my fruit trees which are just a week or two away from harvest and am wondering if the fruit can hang on that long. The only positive part of this wind is that it seems to have blown away those ninety-five-degree temperatures and it is quite comfortable here this morning.

If the wind weren’t enough to worry about, I woke up this morning to find one of my sweet brown hens unable to put weight on one of her legs. After reading everything I could online and in my two chicken keeping books, I am still unsure as to what caused it. I’d just leave her for a couple of days to see what happens, but the three mean black hens keep attacking her and I worry that she won’t survive since she just curls up into a ball trying to avoid them. What is it with mean girls anyway? I finally discussed it with my husband, and we isolated her in a large box to keep her confined on a bed of hay with food and water available. She is eating and drinking just fine, so I am hoping that keeping her confined for a week or two will resolve the issue. My husband stuck her down by the garage, but as soon as he walked away, I snuck her up by my back door, so I can keep an eye on her better. Poor Cordelia doesn’t know what is going on!

When the temperatures are as warm as they have been here in Umbria this summer, I try and prepare as much of our dinner as early as possible. We love to eat lots of vegetable side dishes with our evening meal, and they also work great for lunch the following day. Yesterday I decided to cook up some of the gorgeous peppers that we bought the day before at our local market and wanting to do something different than I usually do, I decided to prepare them Sicilian style with a sweet and sour flavor. In Sicily, raisins and currants are widely used in many savory dishes, and although I initially wasn’t too sure about adding sweet dried fruit to my savory recipes when I first delved into Sicilian cuisine, I have learned to love the combination. This dish is great warm or at room temperature, and leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days. These peppers would be a great side dish for grilled or roasted meats, or as an antipasti option on an appetizer table.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Red Bell Peppers, Cored, Seeded & Cut Into 2-inch Chunks
  • 2 Large Yellow Peppers, Cored, Seeded & Cut Into 2-inch Chunks
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
  • 1/3 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 1/3 Cup Raisins
  • 1/4 Cup Salted Capers, Rinsed
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • Pinch Of Red Chili Flakes
  • 6 Fresh Mint Leaves, Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until lightly smoking.
  2. Add the peppers and onions, and stirring often, cook for about 10  to 12 minutes, or until the peppers have softened.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant.
  4. Add the pine nuts, raisins, and capers, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Season with salt and pepper along with the red chili flakes.
  6. Add the vinegar and honey, and continue to stir, cooking over high heat until the liquid has thickened, about 7 or 8 minutes.
  7. Stir in the mint and serve warm or at room temperature.