As I'm still enjoying the Piedmonte region of Italy, the focus of this WHB post is on one of the more prolific crops of the area - Peperoni
You'll know these as Capsicums or Bell Peppers and around these parts they are impossible to miss - just about every stall has a bountiful supply.
In fact this is a photo of the very same capsicums I bought and cooked with - purchased straight from the grower himself.
To keep with my theme of trying to stay true to the area I'm in, I'll be making my version of a dish we enjoyed at an excellent little Osteria here. Served as part of antipasto, at first appearance it seemed to be a Peperonata. It was served cold and although it was predominately capsicum and tomato, it also had other vegetables like zucchini, celery and peas. We then found out it was called Giardiniera which is quite confusing as Giardiniera to me refers to this dish of pickled vegetables.
I can only guess that it's given this name because it's a dish of vegetables from the garden and so I've made my own version, which in taste, is very similar to the one we enjoyed in the restaurant. Naturally enough, feel free to add to subtract ingredients according to your own tasts and contents of your fridge.
red, yellow and orange capsicums (bell peppers), seeded and sliced, thick or thin it's your choice
onion, sliced finely
garlic clove, sliced finely
tomatoes, roughly diced and seeded
zucchini, halved and sliced
salt and pepper
Heat a little oil and butter in a non-stick pan and add in the onion, celery and garlic - cook under a gentle heat until the onion has wilted but not coloured.
Add in the sliced capsicums and toss through the onion mixture - let these slowly start to wilt and soften before adding the tomatoes.
Once the tomatoes have started to break down and release their juice, add in the zucchini - toss well and cook until the vegetables have softened.
I like to do this in a low oven - it removes the possibility of the vegetables drying out and burning and allows the natural sweetness of the capsicums to come through.
The final product should be quite a thick mixture - the tomato liquid will have reduced to form a thick, flavoursome base for the rest of the vegetables.
It can naturally be served as part of an anti-tpasto platter but it also makes an excellent sandwich filling, teams well with grilled meats or could be used, if served hot, as a pasta sauce.