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Italian sweet red peppers for stuffing, English peas for braising

Posted: June 24, 2014 - 2:47pm  |  Updated: June 25, 2014 - 8:50am

If you’ve ever been to the either the Dekalb Farmers Market or the Buford Highway Farmers Market, in the Atlanta area, you already know that they are international markets of global proportions, both figuratively and literally. The Dekalb Farmers Market, all 140,000 square feet of it, is a “true world market serving up to 100,000 people per week,” selling everything from produce, meat, seafood, dairy and bakery items, to spices, coffee, gadgets and books most of which cannot be typically found in your neighborhood grocery store. Equally grand is the 100,000 square foot Buford Highway Farmers Market, with its impressive array of international foods, arranged by country of origin. Whether you’re after fresh wild caught octopus from Japan, longan fruit from Thailand or walnut preserves from Azerbaijan, chances are more than good you’ll find it here. I needed two days and an overnight stay to complete my shopping, which resulted in a carload-full of fresh produce, two coolers filled with seafood, cheese and other perishables, and an assortment of spices, cocoas and bottled Asian sauces. From the Dekalb Farmers market, my searches for English peas for cooking French-style finally came to an end, and the sweet red Italian peppers, brilliant and fragrant, from the Buford Highway Farmers Market, perfect for stuffing and roasting, were just too beautiful to pass up. No matter where you live, the farmers market in your area is teeming with fresh treasures. Exploring them is fun, and there’s always something irresistible to be found.

 

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

French-Style Green Peas

3 pounds fresh English peas, shelled just before using

Handful of outer lettuce leaves, a variety is nice

12 white pearl onions

2 sprigs parsley

1 sprig mint

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

½ teaspoon salt

Sugar, as needed

¼ cup water

 

 

Line a large heavy saucepan, fitted with a tight-fitting lid, with lettuce leaves. Taste the peas, they should taste sweet. If they are not as sweet as you would like, toss them with sugar to taste, and add ½ teaspoon salt. Place the peas inside of the lettuce leaves. Top peas with onion, parsley and mint. Dot with butter, and cover all with the water. Cover pan and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, or until peas and onions are tender. Remove from heat. Remove peas from pan with a slotted spoon, and place into a serving dish. Shred lettuce with a scissor and mix with peas. Toss in onions. Makes 6 servings.

Stuffed Italian Sweet Red Peppers

8 medium Italian sweet red peppers, washed

¾ pound ground beef

1 large zucchini, grated and drained of excess of liquid

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

3 anchovies, mashed

1 cup soft bread crumbs made from 4 slices of bread, with crusts

Olive oil

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

½ cup water

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a large roasting pan with olive oil. Mix tomato sauce with water and pour into bottom of pan; set aside. In a large bowl, mix the meat, grated zucchini, onion, garlic, parsley, cheese, egg, seasonings and bread crumbs. Remove tops of peppers; reserve. Gently scoop out seeds. Stuff peppers with meat mixture, then place in roasting plan, placing pepper tops on the top of each pepper. Drizzle peppers with olive oil. Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour, basting with pan juices, until tops are browned and thermometer inserted into filling registers 165 degrees. Transfer peppers to a platter, spooning tomato sauce from the pan over the peppers before serving. Garnish with additional grated cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

To Roast Peppers

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet well with Pam. Place the peppers on the baking sheet, and poke each one once with a fork. Bake until most of the skin is charred and the peppers are slightly collapsed, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cover the peppers with clean kitchen towels; let cool to room temperature. Core, seed and peel the roasted peppers before using.

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