Most Italian shops and markets still only offer food in season, and June is the beginning of the friggitelli season. These are long green peppers, latin name capiscum annuum. They are known outside Italy as Italian sweet peppers or Tuscan peppers. You can eat them lightly cooked as an accompaniment to meat (the go great with barbecue), as an antipasto, or as part of a pot luck salad spread.
Friggitelli are not at all spicy. They differ from the spicy green pepper (peperoncino) in colour and shape. The spicy peppers are dark green, whereas friggitelli are pale light green. Spicy peppers also are quite smooth, whereas friggitelli have a slightly lumpy or wrinkly appearance.
Italians normally eat friggitelli as a contorno (a vegetable side dish), or with other items as antipasti. You can fry them gently in oil or cook them in the oven. I prefer the second method since you use a lot less oil and they also turn a little crunchy, like potato crisps.
Here’s how to cook them in the oven. Enjoy!
- 20 friggitelli, or sweet Italian peppers
- olive oil
- parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 180° C (355° F).
- Wash the friggitelli.
- Cut them in half lengthways and remove the seeds.
- Place them on a baking tray.
- Salt to taste and drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano (or vegetarian alternative) cheese.
- Place in the oven for 20-25 mins.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Friggitelli go very well with crostini, cold meats, and other antipasto ingredients.