Chargrilled peppers and sour cream fricassée
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 red peppers that you have, but don’t try with green or yellow because they are not as flavoursome.
My mum was from Transylvania, so I tend to think that this dish is specific to that region. But 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, they are full of flavour. The best way to eat them is raw. The next best way to eat peppers is to chargrill them. This makes the base for so many summer dishes, to which people add ingredients local to their regions.
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
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.