Ciccio Sultano: how to cook peppers

Ciccio Sultano: how to cook peppers

Summer, the sea, the sun and the scent of peppers, what more could you want? Perhaps only the culinary advice of a great chef like Ciccio Sultano.

Summer is a truly rich and colorful season in the kitchen, a period of abundance for Mediterranean flavors and aromas such as those of tomatoes , aubergines and peppers . Not everyone’s favorite vegetable (for some it is a bit heavy, especially if raw), however pepper is an important ingredient of our culinary tradition, just think of recipes such as peperonata , chicken with peppers or caponata .


To experience this summer with another taste, we asked for some little advice from an exceptional chef, Ciccio Sultano , known for his ability to transform ingredients, temperatures, textures into a new dish, without ever betraying his Sicilian origins, indeed often enhancing the lost flavors of his land. We distracted him from work at the Duomo restaurant in Ragusa (awarded two stars in the Michelin guide) to let us confess some secrets about peppers and here’s what he told us (prepare the barbecue).

First, what are your favorite peppers?
” The world of peppers is vast, without excluding anyone I love them all, from the spicy to the sweet ones “.

Red, green or yellow. Does each type of pepper correspond to a different recipe?
” The color is not decisive, the degree of ripeness is important “.

What trick allows us to make them more digestible?
“ Peel them raw. To do this, you just need a carrot peeler “.

One of the most popular pepper-based recipes throughout Italy is peperonata. What is the secret of this dish?
” I like the simple homemade version that Gabriella, my Lady, prepares, where the peppers are cooked in a pan with olive oil and, once cooked, the lightly toasted crumb is added and flavored with herbs and garlic and then a sprinkle of vinegar. A peperonata to be eaten strictly cold “.

BBQ Peppers

Do you remember any recipes from your childhood based on peppers?
” The peppers cooked on the barbecue, then left to cool in a bag “.

In your kitchen, start from tradition to revisit it and give it new life. What do you recommend to make this product more contemporary? A condiment, a combination, an aromatic herb, a particular cooking?
” For me, the barbecue remains the cooking that maximizes the goodness of the pepper, together with the condiment based on olive oil, parsley, Moroccan mint and red vinegar “.

For example, you have revisited a classic of Southern Italian cuisine, peppers and potatoes, cooked on the grill. How did you get this inspiration?
” From the world of the countryside, Sunday embers with my family and friends “.

Are you thinking of new reinterpretations and new pepper-based recipes for the summer?
“ The spatula dedicated to love, which contemplates the pepper among the vegetables that serve as a side dish “.

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