We’ve all heard about Peter Piper and his peck of pickled peppers, but who would have thought that pickled peppers would score a whole week in the world of food holidays? Not me! But, they do. This is National Pickled Pepper Week and that fact got me wondering about who uses pickled peppers anyway.
It turns out that lots of people and food places do. Pickles have been around for ages, starting in India thousands of years ago. The pickling process made its way into Europe and from there, came to America. Pickles are big in many Asian cuisines, too. My late father-in-law used to make his own sweet and sour sauce with sliced pickles in his Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. Lots of things can be pickled, including vegetables like cucumbers, cabbage, and peppers, but even fish, like herring, is sometimes given that treatment.
The pickling process involves submerging the pickling target, in this case peppers, in an herbed and spiced vinegar and salt-water brine. In the USA we see pickled varieties of banana peppers, Hungarian wax peppers, Greek peppers, sweet red peppers, and jalapeño peppers most frequently.
Some of the most common pairings of peppers and foods are with meats and cheeses on antipasto plates, as pepperoncini with pizza, on hot Italian beef sandwiches, on Chicago style hot dogs (my favorite spot to find them,) on top of nachos, and in submarine sandwiches. But I found a peck of less usual, yet interesting uses for them too. Here are a few places where pickled peppers popped up in my research:
· In the braising liquid of slow-cooked pork butt roast to provide a little kick to the meat;
· Deep fried to serve as a stand-alone condiment;
· In Hungarian goulash to provide some heat;
· On crostini with goat cheese;
· In Greek Salads, collard greens, ceviche; chili; black-eyed peas, and salsa;
· In gazpacho, corn chowder, or tom yum soups;
· Sliced and baked into bread, as olives are baked into ciabatta;
· In deviled eggs, egg salad, chicken salad, or potato salad; and black-eyed peas;
· In turkey meatloaf;
· In huevos rancheros and Spanish omelettes;
· And I even found that some people use the pickled-pepper juice as a marinating agent for white meat. I think you’d have to really love pickled-peppers for this one!
I was so inspired by what I found that I whipped up some egg salad, spooned it into a cucumber scoop, topped it with some fresh dill, and served it with a side of pickled peppers. The peppers added just the right amount of zip to this low-cal dish! Give it a try. Enjoy Pickled Pepper Week with some of the interesting uses presented here. And if you need recipes for goulash, egg salad, chicken salad, or pork butt roast, find them in your Easy Weekly Meals cookbooks.
Photo Courtesy of Easy Weekly Meals