Chargrilled peppers with sour cream 

 

This is a summer dish, quick to make and perfect to be cooked outdoors in the summer kitchen. The important thing here is to chargrill the Romano peppers, to bring out their natural sweetness. You can use any sweet peppers, but  red ones work best.

 

My mum was from Transylvania, so I tend to think that this dish is specific to that region.However, if you cross the Carpathian mountains to the east into Moldova, you will find it there too. The peppers are called ‘chiperi’ and Moldova being renowned for its dairy products, the use of sour cream doesn’t come as a surprise. If you travel south, you will meet Macedonian communities that also have a dish of fried peppers with egg and cheese, called ‘piperchi’ No sour cream, but there is cheese.

 

In a land where vegetables are blessed with so many hot days, the peppers are full of flavour. The best way to eat them is raw. The next best way to eat them is to chargrill them. You can think of them as the base for many dishes: peel and cover them with garlic vinaigrette for a delicious accompaniment to aubergine dip, or combine them with sour cream, blend them to turn into a soup or even better, a sauce for meatballs. 

 

Ingredients: serves 4 or two greedy people like me

 

4 Romano peppers

2 onions – sliced

4 garlic cloves – sliced

1 tbsp tomato paste (optional)

250g sour cream (or Greek yoghurt)

1 bunch of parsley – chopped

 

Method:

 

Place the Romano peppers on the BBQ, a grill or in a non stick frying pan without oil. Cook them on high heat and keep turning them until the skin chars evenly. Put them aside on a plate and sprinkle a bit of salt on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and while still warm, peel the skin off, discarding the seeds. Cut into strips.

 

Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with a thin layer of oil and heat well. Add the sliced onions and cook on medium heat until caramelised. Add the garlic and tomato paste (optional) then the sliced peppers. Combine everything gently and cook for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the sour cream, stirring well. Sprinkle the chopped parsley and serve with bread or polenta, but many people eat it as it is.