December 15, 2015

Blog the Thirty-third: What to do with Green Peppers.

And what not to do.

Let’s begin with what not to do.  Do not slice up raw green pepper and mix it into so called salads.  Sure, that’s easy.  Sure, they look pretty.  Sure, they’re nutritious.  But we all know they’re not delicious, Mom.  Since you’re not going to convince others, lying to yourself about this will be particularly pathetic.  You might well be able to get your kids used to eating them raw anyway, the way you can get them used to flossing, but you could also get them used to beatings, and that wouldn’t make them good, would it?

Of course, if you’re a Gentile whose default way of cooking a vegetable is steaming it and melting a wad of butter over it, I can see how raw would seem a preferable alternative for a green pepper.  I can also see how the case seems desperate when melted butter doesn’t help something taste better.  Of course, let not your desperation drive you to baking it stuffed, since thus steaming just vaporizes its off flavor, infecting the stuffing with it besides, which won’t do either it or the stuffing any good.  Besides, green peppers are pallid baked.  Knowing that you are what you eat, do you really want to smell off and be pallid besides?

People don’t like green peppers precisely because of the something off about their aroma and flavor.  They smell and taste like they should be bad for you, and the fact that they’re actually good for you is more perplexing than persuasive.  They’re vaguely sour, not in the wholesome if offensive way that your kid’s B.O. is, but in a vaguely medicinal and vegetal way.  Or else they remind one of grass, and grass is not appetizing—your dog eats it when he’s queasy in order to throw up.  Asparagus is a more concentrated case of this, and celery a well-watered down version of it.  Sage is like this.  When wine tastes of it, critics poeticize it as “brambles”.  Well, I wouldn’t eat brambles, so why it that a good thing?

People so don’t like green peppers, they’d lie about it for a lifetime, if they could get away with it.  I have a group of college friends, and one of the first things I knew about one of them was that he can’t eat peppers.  The rest of us assumed they get him physically sick.  His conscience permitted him the mental reservation of not correcting our assumption.  By remaining silent, he told no lie.  So for decades we planned menus with the standing exclusion, “D. can’t eat peppers.”  One day I forgot (because they were on sale) and as soon as he came through the front door he smelt them.  He comes in the kitchen (his, by the way) and says, “I smell peppers,” and suddenly I remember and apologize, half-heartedly, because the sale was really good and so were the peppers: “Oh, I forgot you’re allergic to them.”  He remained silent, as he had for decades. 

But later the peppers naturally come up in conversation over dinner, and someone happens to put it to him point blank, “Right, you can’t eat them because you’re allergic to them, aren’t you?”  And he turns all the heads at table, lifelong friends to his own, when he replies, “No, not allergic.”  (Did I mention he’s become a lawyer?)  Further cross‑examination brings out that once when he ate them as a kid he threw them up, and ever afterward has found the very smell of them repulsive, so he can’t eat them. 

Well, I guess one must grant that “can’t” is said in many ways, as is “is”.  And just as a moral certainty is still a certainty even if not a scientific one, so a revulsion need not be an allergic one—I guess.  I still don’t cook peppers at his house, but now I smirk.

What’s to be done about revulsion to green peppers?  I’ll tell you what, sauté them with onions, lots of them, and dot with pinchy spice, like black pepper and oregano, and then you’ll have the appeal of a minor chord.  In counterpoint, the sourness of the peppers not only keeps the onions’ sweetness from being cloying, it gives it tonality, maturity, realism—yet without gravity, like still youthful middle age. 

In fact, it was only in still youthful middle age that I came to like green peppers in earnest.  I regard them as food for the serious, and I only cook them for eaters I respect.  I’m not interested in persuading the mob to like them—let them eat the sweet.  But at a certain point you realize that the sweet is not the truth, and you want your food to tell the truth.   You start liking the earthy, the pungent, the funky; you want grip, oxidation and patinization, chiaroscuro.  Green peppers attest to the truth that there will be sourness, to be sure, but you can sweeten it, which will not only be good for you to do, but even a pleasure to contemplate. Someday, remembering even this will be a pleasure. Burdened and sick at heart, he feigned hope in his look, and contained his anguish inwardly.    

I have several ways I make green peppers, but they are all variations on a theme, that theme being onions, lots of them.  I might just sauté them with onions, as a side to roasted meat, or I might opt to finish off this sauté with a scramble of eggs, grated cheese, and parsley, for a more substantive side, or even a light lunch.  For a real lunch or a fancy antipasto, I make a frittata.  For a main course, I’d either roast them in the oven with pork chops, or else brown sausages in oil and then sauté peppers and onions in the same oil.  People who think they don’t like green peppers like them these ways, unless of course, like a lifelong lie, their revulsion has grown too inveterate to be dubitable.

I once had a husband call me the night before a formal dinner party to say he had forgotten to mention that his wife can’t eat either garlic or onions.  I was stunned at the idea, and all too ready to reassure him that I understood his bowing out at the last minute.  But he didn’t bow out.  I was stunned the more.   The contortions I was compelled to perform so as to come up with garlic-AND-onion free alternatives for her were neither few nor reasonable.  Only when one of the guests of honor, whose lifelong friend this woman was, came into the kitchen to tell me the woman wanted a second helping of the eggplant parmigiana, did I remember that I forgot to use the special garlic‑AND‑onion-free tomato sauce I had made to make her special garlic-AND-onion-free serving of eggplant parmigiana. 

For my part, I was ready to just send out seconds and risk both mental reservation and indigestion, but her friend was concerned this woman might need to take some medicine.  I left the disclosures to her.  To her surprise and mine, the woman not only said not to worry, but took the seconds besides.  I softened.  I didn’t know whether to feel more humbled or more flattered that the woman deemed my eggplant parmigiana worth tossing the night long in indigestion!

Or not.  A couple of years later, in a study group on Goethe’s Aesthetics, she offered herself as an example of aesthetic revulsion:  she testified that since earliest childhood she cannot eat onion or garlic, as she feels visceral revulsion for even a whiff of it.  She attested to this with the complacent glow and grin of moral certainty.  Yes, our lifelong lies about food once grown inveterate grow even indubitable.  When it comes to food, Gentle Reader, trust no flesh.  Feed those who hunger in truth, and forget the rest.

Peppers ‘n Onions ‘n Eggs.

Let me begin with a warning:  it is critically, decisively, fatefully important in my people’s cooking that you sauté onions long and gentle to golden sweet (not browned!), to lay down a fundament of flavor on which to layer the principal ingredients.  I want to emphasize this all the more in this dish, precisely because it is an exception.

Somehow, you get away with sautéing your onions and peppers together from the start.  In fact, it is not merely convenient but advisable to do so, because if you don’t, your onions tend to brown before your peppers fry, and we never want that, do we?   Well now, exceptions can’t be exceptions without rules to be exceptions to, can they?  So the rule is all the more confirmed by this exception, is it not?

Another exception to another rule is that you’ll want to slice the onions not thin enough to escape the feel of the tongue, but rather thick enough to be a companion to (and not just a fundament for) the peppers.  I slice them lengthwise into slices something short of pencil width.  I probably do an onion per pair of peppers.

As for the peppers, I like to turn them upside down and slice downward from their butt‑dimple along each crease to their stem‑shoulders.  Then I pull the sections off the shoulders, discarding the seed‑heart.  I trim each pepper section free of all white pith clinging to its edges, and then slice it lengthwise into slices thrice the width of the pencil‑thin onions.

Mix the sliced onion and peppers together in a sauté pan.  By way of a third exception to a third rule, they don’t mind being crowded in the pan.  Drizzle them very generously with olive oil, be it regular, extra virgin, or a mix (I like a mix).  Then salt and pepper generously.  (Does black pepper have anything to do with green peppers, or are they equivocally so called?  I’d love to know.  Of course, when it comes to black pepper, “pepper” is short for “peppercorns”, but that just raises the question of what a “corn” is in the case of a pepper, and the equivocations just seem to multiply, don’t they?) 

Also, sprinkle the peppers ‘n onions with some dried oregano.  Their sourness needs the same remedy as the onion’s sweetness, namely pinchy spice.  Isn’t it odd that near opposites call for the same remedy?  Sweetness unalloyed cloys, and sourness unalloyed puckers, but alloyed with dark spice, both sweetness and sourness become interesting.  It would be as if a clinging child and a whining one called for the same sort of discipline.  I feel as though I should have metaphysical reflections for you on why this is so, but I have only the fact that it is so and questions about it.  Green peppers appear to make me aporetic.  How do you like that, Gentle Reader?  I feel as though I’m more entertaining to you when I’m opinionated.  But maybe you like me better asking you what you know?

Anyways, cover the pan and put it over medium-high heat to work itself up to a steamy sizzle, with a toss or two, as usual (finally, a rule obeyed!), and then uncover and sauté to glossy sweet, with much tossing in between, as usual.  Adjust the heat to maintain lively sizzling but avoid frantic frying. 

Often, at a certain point, peel starts peeling off some of the peppers.  This is not a good thing, but neither is it so bad a thing that I’d be willing to peel the peppers before cooking.  Not only is such peeling tedious beyond endurance, it also takes the vim and verve out of the peppers (I wonder what the difference between vim and verve is?).  Of course, I keep pulling off peeling peel, but by the time I tire of doing so, the peppers have sautéed long enough to have gotten past steamy and well into sizzling, so that I can safely add some light white wine (preferably Italian), which for some reason (I wonder why?) stops the peeling.  Alternatively, sometimes your onions get ahead of your peppers and start browning, which is not good in excess, and this can likewise be stopped by adding white wine, and I know why:  because liquid arrests browning (wait, isn’t that just yet another fact I know, rather than a reason why?).

So I turn the heat up higher, and bring the pan quickly to a frenetic sizzle, and then pour a light white wine along the circumference of the pan, just enough to puddle very shallow in the middle of the pan.  I wait for the wine to work itself up into a sizzle before tossing the peppers ‘n onions in it, and then lower the heat again to bring the peppers ‘n onions down to a cheerful sizzle, to sauté back to glossy.  Taste and correct for salt and pepper, needless to say.

There!  Now you have a vegetable side to roasted meat.  But, for yet more interest and deliciousness, you can beat an egg or two with a tablespoon or two of grated Pecorino Romano and fresh chopped parsley, a dollop of milk, and salt and pepper, needless to say, and pour it all over the fried peppers ‘n onions sizzling in the pan.  Give the egg a chance to firm up underneath, and then flip it over and into the peppers ‘n onions.  Do this a couple more times, until the egg cooks through and distributes itself as yummy egg scramble throughout the peppers ‘n onions.  Peppers ‘n onions thus yummified are yummier yet with crusty bread, whether as a vegetable side to roasted meat, or even on their own as a snack or light lunch.  If you find someone who doesn’t think so, by no means waste any more of it on them ever again.

But what if you need more than a snack or light lunch?  What if you need a real lunch, or a vegetarian entrée at an otherwise carnivorous dinner?  Then beat some half-dozen eggs with a rounded tablespoon per egg of Pecorino Romano, some salt and pepper, a couple more dollops of milk, more fresh chopped parsley, and make a frittata!  Pour your enhanced eggs over the sizzling pepper and onions, preferably in a non‑stick frying pan, and stir in circles to mix the eggs into the peppers and the peppers throughout the eggs.  Then lower the heat to medium-low.

Several minutes later, a sort of egg crepe will have formed, firm enough to allow you to slide a spatula under it and get enhanced egg-liquid to run down from on top underneath.  Go systematically around the circumference of the pan, lifting the egg crepe with your spatula, to allow enhanced egg liquid to run under.  Then cut a cross in the middle of the mass to allow enhanced egg liquid to run down under the center.  Now use your spatula to neaten the edges of your formative frittata.

Depending on the quantity of egg ‘n peppers ‘n onions you have, you might have to repeat this procedure a second time.  In either case, when the formative frittata has become solid if yet wet, and bubbles of oil have begun to bubble up at its edges, and a faint aroma of toasty egginess wafts from it, then it’s time to flip your frittata.

Courage!  Grab a plate, and tilt the non-stick frying pan so as to serenely slide the formative frittata out of the frying pan and onto the plate; then carefully turn the pan over to cover the frittata, letting the sizzling fat in the pan drip on top of it.  The pan, frittata, and plate are now one.  But the union is not holy, for it is brief, as you will now serenely turn this menage a trois upside down.  Ah!  

Now pull the frying pan away, turning it upside down and hence right side up again, so that you can in turn slide the frittata from the plate back into the pan, eggy side down, as serenely as you had slid it out before, eggy side up. You will feel graceful as a dancer, and seem as beautiful to any beholding you.
But don’t let it go to your head.  Get the pan back on the medium-low heat, and let the formative frittata finally become a fully formed frittata.  It will expand like a cake and pull free from the sides of the pan, and finally give off again that faint aroma of toasty egg.  Peek under and have a look.  I like it best when the frittata retains a sunny face with but freckles of gilded egg here and there, mostly at the center.  My mother, in contrast, thinks a frittata should fry faster at a higher temperature, be thinner, and be blotched brown all around.  Marcella Hazan thinks it should remain pale and blotch-free.  
In any case, cover a receiving plate with a paper towel and slide the fully formed frittata onto the plate; cover the frittata with yet another paper towel, to blot excess oil.  It tastes good hot now, lukewarm in a bit, cooled to room for later, and even cold from the frig tomorrow.  Green never tasted so good.
Pork Chops Roasted with Green Peppers ‘n Onions
My mother had a grandfather who was a great cook.  It’s hard for me to imagine what this means, given my indoctrination about machismo in the bad old days.  When exactly did this guy cook, and for whom?  Wasn’t it woman’s work to cook, and didn’t women cower before their husbands?  Is it possible he cooked dinner for his wife and kids in a rural town of South Italy circa 1947, or did he just sneak-cook only for himself when other macho-men weren’t watching, eating it in secret shame?
It wasn’t as if he was cooking man-food.  In a sort of dutch oven hung over the fireplace, he first browned pork chops, and then in the same oil sautéed onions to golden, then added peppers and sautéed them with the onions, then added the pork chops back in with some white wine, covered, and finished cooking it all together.  This sort of thing he did openly before his granddaughter, my mother.  And she remembers it.  This was her grandfather on her father’s side, who lived in the next town oven, Piacina, a more prosperous and sophisticated place than Sacco.  My mother says he even used to show up at their house with the main ingredients for a dinner and cook it for her family.  She tells me that all her father’s people were good cooks, and the kind that could make a meal impromptu out of apparently nothing.  I love that.
When I asked her if other men in Sacco or Piacina cooked for their families as well, she said yes, on special occasions, many did.  Now you might figure it was the tame husbands who would likely do this, but it came out that even the ner’do’wells got together for special man-feasts, where they cooked a dinner for themselves and drank the night away playing cards—it was called a cuzzaviglia, occasioned perhaps by the seasonal slaughter of pigs in winter or of sucklings in spring.  Seems to be the mark of a high culinary culture that it reaches even to its lowest elements.
Now my mother has never made pork chop ‘n onions the way her grandfather did, even though he used the very “braising” method I’ve told you is the soul of her people’s cooking.  Somehow, she got the idea of roasting everything in the oven instead, rather than sautéing on the stove.  I think she did this to make it easier rather than better, but it’s in fact better this way besides (which just goes to show that Art loves Accident and Providence loves to bring forth good even from what didn’t mean to do it). In my mother’s way, you slice the onions and peppers as usual—onions pencil-thick and peppers thrice that—and mix them together in a roasting pan.  Then very generously dress them with regular olive oil, and a good amount of salt, fresh grindings of black pepper, and pinches of dried oregano.  Toss to marry flavors.
Now put the roasting pan in a 400 degree oven for an initial roasting of the peppers ‘n onions to limp, but still quite al dente.  You’ll need to toss them every 5 minutes or so for 30 minutes or so, to keep the onion from sticking and burning.  The peppers ‘n onions will start to go limp and to make the kitchen smell good when they’re about ready to receive the pork chops.
The pork chops—best brined in a salt-bath of ¼ cup salt to 1 qt. water all night, all day, or at least all afternoon—should be lightly salted and peppered on both sides before being dipped in regular olive oil and then pressed into a mound of seasoned bread crumbs, on both sides, needless to say.  These breaded pork chops are now laid out on the bed of sizzling peppers ‘n onions.  They must not overlap one another much, but they can cover the peppers ‘n onions completely, if need be.  Now return the roasting pan to the oven, and raise the heat to 450.
Roast the pork chops only long enough for them to blush golden; do not try to brown them, lest you dry them out.  As soon as the chops are sizzling and show any color (in 25-35 minutes?), pour a half glass of light white wine all over them, give the pan some shakes to help that wine run down under the peppers ‘n onions, and turn the chops  over.  Now finish roasting the chops until they blush golden with a bit of gilding at some edges.  You’re going for pretty, not crispy, because over-cooking the chops will toughen them.
I like to lay out the chops overlapping in the middle of a very large platter and surround them with a corona of glossy green peppers ‘n onions.
Bonus Recipe:  Peppers Roasted with Potatoes ‘n Onions
Wait, I just remembered a recipe I forgot about.  I have a new sister‑in‑law, devoted daughter of old-time Sicilians, who’s particularly good with potatoes.  She’s the one who first gave me the idea of putting a potato or two in my sugo, and she has some secret recipe for potato croquettes that has become a holiday staple.  She once told me that her family roasts green peppers ‘n onions with potatoes.  I tried it and loved it.  I did exactly as I described above, slicing the onions pencil thick and the peppers thrice that, and then sliced potatoes half that, somewhere between the two.  First I halved the whole potato and then, with the flat side down, sliced it into these broad but thin steak‑fries, so that they cook at the same rate as the peppers.  I dressed the trio them as above, with much olive oil, salt, pepper, & oregano, and roasted them a 400 degree oven, flipping every 10 minutes, until everything got tender, golden, and enticing.  It was delicious.  In fact, I wonder if I should sometime try adding the potatoes in when I roast the pork chops with pepper ‘n onions.
Sausages with Pepper ‘n Onions
I really have no business giving you this next recipe.  I’m not sure I’ve ever actually made it.  I figure I must have ad-libbed it once.  But the truth is that I prefer my Italian sausage dry roasted, with sautéed peppers ‘n onions (‘n maybe eggs) as a side.  But frying sausage with peppers and onions is an obvious archetype, and in my family my grandmother’s sausages braised with mushrooms enjoyed a certain popularity, so by analogy I can tell you how I’d braise them with peppers, contrary to wont, were I to.
But first let me make clear what I mean by Italian sausage.  I mean Bratwurst, strangely enough.  That’s Gentile for Italian sausage.  Bratwurst is just ground fatty pork with salt and black pepper, and that’s what Italian sausage is back in South Brooklyn (except ground more coarsely and with even more fat).  Italian sausage needs to be fatty.  If you don’t like fatty sausage, eat something else.  I once tried to special order Italian sausage at my Gentile supermarket:  I just want coarsely ground pork with 20% fat, salt & pepper, and nothing else.  “We make our sausage with 15% fat.”  Yes, I figured, which is why I want to special-order sausage with 20% fat.  “We don’t make sausage with 30% fat; we only make 15% fat.”  I realize that, but that’s why this would be a “special” order. I’m prepared to make a special order as large as need be—as much as 10 pounds—to make it worth your while to make me sausage with 20% fat.  “We only make sausage with 15% fat.”  So now I buy 10 lbs. of sausage at a time whenever I go to Brooklyn, and freeze it.  Doesn’t seem so crazy in the context of exile, does it?
I know you Gentiles think we like fennel in our sausage, but we don’t, nor any other so called Italian spices, with the notable exception of hot red pepper.  I won’t say that fennel is not traditional in parts of Italy; I’m just saying it’s both alien and repugnant to my people.  Further, any spice beyond fennel, such as garlic, be it fresh or powdered, is not only repugnant to us, but abominable to boot.  We have strong feelings about this.
Now, I’ll admit there’s a seeming exception to this repugnance in what we call “skinny sausage,” which I’ve also seen called pugliese (from Puglia).  It’s thin and coiled on itself like a pinwheel, and back in Brooklyn it comes optionally stuffed with cheese and parsley.  There are those in my family who prefer even skinny sausage plain, but for those of us who like the cheese and parsley, one may distinguish between seasoning and spice, and argue that just because spice offends, seasoning need not.  If that’s a distinction without a difference, so be it, for taste need not dispute.
But for sautéing with peppers ‘n onions, you’ll surely use fat sausage links.  You begin by frying those links over medium heat in regular olive oil until lightly browned on two, three, or four sides, depending on your patience.  (You best pierce your raw sausage with a fork to keep them from exploding while frying.)  Remove the browned sausages from the frying pan and add in your peppers ‘n onions with a shower of salt and fresh grindings of black pepper.  Cover to steam to glistening, as usual; then uncover and sauté to glossy, as usual. 
But once the green peppers go limp and grow redolent but are still too al dente, add the sausage back into the pan, and toss everything together.  Turn up the heat and bring the pan to a lively sizzle before pouring some white wine along the circumference until it puddles shallow in the middle.  Let the wine work up to a lively sizzle before lowering the heat again to medium and tossing the sausage, peppers, & onions in the vinous broth.  Let the broth sizzle down into a glaze, with the cover on the pan ajar, to finish cooking the sausage to plump and springy (another 10-20 minutes—and not to worry about a pink center!).  By the end, all should glisten with a beckoning glaze.
You won’t forget the crusty bread, needless to say.


Green Pepper 'n Onion Sauté

*  Slice your onions pencil-thick and your peppers thrice that, in more or less equal measure.  Dump them together into a broad sauté pan, and dress them very generously with regular olive oil, unscantingly with salt and pepper, and scantingly with dried oregano.  Toss to glistening and aromatic.
*  Cover the pan and turn on the heat to medium/medium-high.  When you see the pan get steamy, toss the peppers and onions; when you hear the peppers ‘n onions sizzle, toss them again; when they glisten and smell good, take the cover off the pan.  Let the peppers ‘n onions dry off and fry, with regular tossings in between, to keep the onions from sticking and browning.  If the onions should start browning before the peppers are cooked through, sprinkle all over with some light white wine, to arrest over-browning—however be sure to cook off all that liquid, and get the peppers to glossy again, before they overcook to mushy.  At the end, you want them fork-tender but still plump.
*  Optional:  Beat a couple of eggs with a couple tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano, some chopped fresh parsley, salt & pepper, and a dollop of milk.  When the peppers are very nearly cooked and glossy, add the egg mixture.  Let it sit until it sets a bit; then flip it over, and into the peppers; let it set some more, before flipping it over and in again.  Cook the egg through, to a solid scramble. 

*  Eat with crusty bread, as you well know by now, I trust.


 Green Pepper 'n Onion Frittata

*  Slice your onions pencil-thick and your peppers thrice that, in more or less equal measure.  Dump them together into a non-stick frying pan, and dress them very generously with regular olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to glistening and aromatic.
*  Cover the pan and turn on the heat to medium-high.  When you see the pan get steamy, toss the peppers and onions; when you hear the peppers ‘n onions sizzle, toss them again; when they glisten and smell good, take the cover off the pan, and adjust heat for a steady and cheerful but not angry sizzle. 
*  Let the peppers ‘n onions dry off and fry, with regular tossings in between to keep the onions from sticking and browning; if the onions should start browning before the peppers are cooked, sprinkle with some light white wine, to slow browning—however be sure to cook off all that liquid and get the peppers to glossy again before they overcook .  At the end, you want those peppers fork-tender but still plump.
* Beat a half dozen eggs, more or less, with a rounded tablespoon full of grated Pecorino Romano per egg, a dollop or two of milk, plus salt and pepper.  Pour the eggs over the sizzling peppers and onions and mix to distribute all evenly.
* Reduce heat to low.  Patiently wait for a bottom layer to firm up.  Then slip a spatula under the layer, all the way around the pan, to allow liquid egg on top to run under; maybe make a slit in the middle too, to let egg run under at the center.  Repeat a second time, if necessary, until the formative frittata is solid enough to slide onto a light plate.
*  Slide the frittata out of the pan, pouring out excess fat on top of it.  Then turn the pan over the plate, and gently, calmly, carefully, even gracefully, flip over pan and plate together, to drop frittata back into pan.  Remove the plate and return the pan to low heat, to finish cooking the second side of frittata. (If faint of heart, instead of sliding and flipping, finish top of frittata under broiler.)
* Slide finished frittata onto a paper towel; use another to blot excess oil from top of frittata.  Tastes good hot, lukewarm, cooled, even cold out of the frig.


 Green Peppers, Onions, 'n Potatoes Roasted

* Preheat an oven to around 400 degrees.
*  Slice your onions pencil-thick, your potatoes twice that, your peppers thrice that, in more or less equal measure.  Dump them together into a broad roasting pan, and dress them very generously with regular olive oil, unscantingly with salt and pepper, and scantingly with dried oregano.  Toss to glistening and aromatic.
*  Put the pan into the pre-heated oven, to roast the peppers and onions.  Toss them every 10-5 minutes or so (less frequently at first, more so later), in particular to keep the onion from sticking and browning.  You want the peppers and potatoes to soften to fork tender before the onions brown, so if the onions start to brown too much, sprinkle everything with a light white wine to slow down the browning.
* When all glistens appetizingly and yields tender to a prodding fork, it’s ready.  It might like some cooling before serving, especially those potatoes.


 Pork Chops Roasted withGreen Peppers 'n Onions

*  Optionally, brine your pork chops in 1/4 cup salt to 1 qt. water, all afternoon, all day, or all night.  Rinse well with fresh water, and dry well with paper towels.  Dark meat is better for this recipe than light, and less in need of brining.
*  Slice your onions pencil-thick and your peppers thrice that, in more or less equal measure.  Dump them together into a broad roasting pan, and dress them very generously with regular olive oil, unscantingly with salt and pepper, and scantingly with dried oregano.  Toss to glistening and aromatic.
*  Put the pan into the pre-heated oven, to roast the peppers and onions.  Toss them every 5 minutes or so (less frequently at first, more so later).  It will take the peppers 30-40 minutes to go limp and glisten sweaty with oil.
*  While the peppers ‘n onions are roasting, prepare the pork chops.  Lightly salt and pepper them evenly all over on both sides.  Pour out some regular olive oil in a deep plate or wide bowl, and a hill of seasoned bread crumbs onto a paper towel.  Dip each chop on both sides in the oil, then press it into the seasoned bread crumbs, to coat on both sides.
*  When the peppers and onoins soften and glisten, having cooked about half way, lay the pork chops over them, and turn up the heat to around 450 degrees.  
*  Now watch for any coloring of the pork chops, which should occur in 20-25 minutes or so (turn up the heat even higher, if they’re taking longer).  As soon as the chops blush golden (don’t wait for browned edges—they’ll overcook), pour a stream of light white wine over all the chops, to run down into the pan, with some sizzling.  Then turn the pork chops over.
*  Roast the pork chops until the second side colors, about another 15-20 minutes (turn up the heat, if it’s taking longer).  In any case, as soon as those pork chops are fork tender, take them out of that oven. 
* Serve the chops on their bed of peppers and onions.


Sausage Fried with Peppers 'n Onions

*  Pour out a pool of regular olive oil into a broad frying pan, and turn the heat up to medium.  As the oil heats, separate your thick sausage links, and pierce each a couple times with a fork.
*  When the oil shimmers, add the sausage links, and adjust the heat so that they sizzle gentle and cheerful.  When they color to light nut brown on one side, turn them over to do the same on the other.  If the links are extra fat, you might color them on 3 or even 4 sides.  In any case, remove the prettily gilded sausages and reserve for reentry.
*  Add the sliced peppers and onions to the pan, with a shower of salt.  Cover the pan and turn on the heat to medium-high.  When you see the pan get steamy, toss the peppers and onions; when you hear the peppers ‘n onions sizzle, toss them again; when they glisten and smell good, take the cover off the pan.  Let the peppers ‘n onions dry off and fry, with regular tossing in between, to keep the onions from sticking and browning. 
*  When the peppers go limp and glisten sweaty with oil, add the gilded sausages back in.  When the sausages heat up enough to sizzle and glisten along with the peppers and onions, then turn the heat up to medium high, and once the sizzle gets lively, pour a stream of light white wine (preferably Italian) along the circumference of the pan, to puddle in the middle.  Let the wine work up to a liverly sizzle before tossing everything over in it.  Then lower the heat to medium again, and finish cooking everything down to glossy, tender, and bestirring.
*  Eat with crusty bread, no?