Jan 14, 2014 04:06AM
● By Style
One of the best things about summer and early fall is enjoying the bounty of so many colorful fruits and vegetables found at local farmers’ markets.
When it comes to bright colors, nothing beats the vibrant hues of the bell pepper. A favorite of many small-plot gardeners, peppers are one of the most popular vegetables consumed in the U.S. Who can resist a pepper’s crunch in salads, soups, stews and relishes? Peppers also go great with sausage and other locally raised meats. Not only is meat from grass-fed animals more nutritious but it tastes better, too. Buying veggies and meat from a local farmer also means your food hasn’t traveled far, so you know that it’s fresh.
Red, yellow and orange bell peppers are just green peppers that have ripened. The red variety is the sweetest and contains the most vitamins and nutrients. In fact, red bell peppers have twice the vitamin C as green bell peppers and even more vitamin C than the average orange. Bell peppers originated in Mexico and Central America. They’re quite hardy and relatively easy to grow for most gardeners.
SELECTION AND STORAGE
To get the most flavor from a bell pepper, check for firmness and make certain the pepper is free of wrinkles. A tasty bell pepper should feel heavy in comparison to its size. Peppers will stay fresh for about a week when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator; green peppers will keep their freshness a few days longer than red or yellow varieties.
How to Pair with Wine
Malbec wines with bold, fruity flavors and unique spicy notes are great with hearty dishes incorporating peppers. A lush and full-bodied Tempranillo would also couple well with dishes integrating bell peppers. Both varietals pair perfectly with this month’s Sausage and Peppers dish (for the recipe, visit stylemg.com). For a full list of local, Placer County wines, visit placerwine.com.
For a list of local Placer County farms, ranches and farmers’ markets, visit placergrown.org.
Sausage and Peppers
Recipe By Courtney McDonald
- 2 pounds hot Italian pork or lamb sausage links
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 pounds mixed hot and sweet peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup tomato purée
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the sausage links and prick all over with a paring knife. Set aside. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onions, peppers and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and start to brown. Add the sausage links and tomato purée, then transfer to the preheated oven. Cook the dish for approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until sausage is cooked through. Serve immediately. Serves 6.