In the kitchen
Both the long tapering Romano and standard bell peppers are fairly hardy and, if kept in the fridge, can last up to 2 weeks.
Prep & Cooking tips
You want to cut away the stems, seeds and white internal ribs before using. Easily done by cleaving them in half and trimming away anything that looks pithy and seedy. You can slice them, dice them or keep them whole for stuffing. If roasting they are best kept whole; the insides can be removed post cooking and the black and blistered skin can be peeled away and discarded too.
You can use them raw in a salad but cooking reveals their full potential. Hollowed and halved, they make a perfect vehicle for stuffings. Sliced thinly, they can be sweated down in a frying pan with a tangle of onions until soft; this makes an ideal base for a paella or goulash. They become sweet and tender when cooked until the skin blisters; do this in a hot oven, under a fierce grill or on the bars of a flaming BBQ. Peel away the skin to reveal lobes of tender flesh.
They are ideal sliced into salads; slice thinly as too large a chunk can be a challenge. A raw pepper is one of the key ingredients of a cold gazpacho soup, along with tomatoes and cucumber.
2. In a pan
They work well in a quick stir-fry and add a good flash of colour, but the flavour isn’t too much of a departure from the raw taste. A little more time and heat really brings out their flavour. Slice thinly and cook them down gently with some onions for 20-30 mins or so until you have a soft, sweet tangle. This makes a great base for a paella, goulash or Mediterranean stew. The classic Italian dish peperonata is simply peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes cooked down into a rich sauce.
3. In the oven
Roasting them whole not only softens and sweetens them but adds a smoky flavour. Keep them whole, rub them with a little oil and roast them on a high heat, turning often, until the skin blisters and blackens. Allow them to cool in a bowl covered with clingfilm (this makes the skins easier to remove). Peel away the skin and remove the insides. They can then be added to salads or mezze plates, used to enrich sauces or stews or are perfect as pizza topping or tart fillings. Try and conserve any roasting juices as they can be mixed with a little oil and vinegar to make a companionable dressing.
Try this recipe for Smoky quinoa stuffed peppers with sheep’s cheese
Goes well with
Cheese (Feta, Goat’s, Mozzarella)
Chilli and paprika
Herbs (Basil, Marjoram, Oregano)
Olives and olive oil
Smoky quinoa stuffed peppers with Wootton White (or feta)
Serves: 2 Total time: 55 min
Fried padron peppers (Pimientos de Padrón tapas)
Serves: 4 Total time: 15 min
Braised fennel and peppers with anise
Serves: 4 Total time: 35 min
Corn on the cob with red pepper and chive butter
Serves: 8 Total time: 35 min
Chicken paprikash with tomato and cumin rice
Serves: 2 Total time: 30 min
stuffed peppers with chorizo, corn and greens
Serves: 4 Total time: 1h 5 min
In the field
Meet the grower: Naturcharc, Almeira, Spain
Naturcharc grow all sorts of tasty essentials to help us keep our boxes full including sweet bell peppers, Padron peppers, crunchy cucumbers and courgettes.Read more
SeasonalityThe UK season spans the warmer summer months – July to September.
The standard mild, sweet, fleshy pepper. Immature fruit are green and slightly bitter, becoming sweeter as they ripen and turn yellow orange or red. They are fairly hardy and keep well.
Long and tapering - although they look like a giant chilli, they taste more like sweet, full-flavoured bell peppers. They have slightly thinner skin so can take a little less time to cook.
They may look like hot chillies, but in fact they’re full of extra sweet flavour. They add fantastic crunch to salads and colour to stir-fries. Or make conveniently bite-sized treats by stuffing them full of ricotta, feta, cream cheese – or anything else your imagination can conjure up.