serves: 6 servings
Banana peppers are a long, thin-skinned mildly spicy variety of pepper that, because of their skin and fairly meaty texture, are perfect for frying. To serve them as a room temperature salad, prepare them as described below. If you prefer to serve them hot, arrange the peeled peppers and their juices in a baking dish, sprinkle the bread crumbs over them, and bake in a hot oven until the crumbs are lightly browned.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 banana or cubanella peppers, or other long thin-fleshed mildly spiced pepper
12 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs, or seasoned breadcrumbs
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Arrange the whole peppers in a single layer in the skillet. Whack the garlic cloves with the flat side of the knife and scatter them around the peppers. Place a smaller skillet over the peppers to weight them lightly. As the peppers soften, the weight of the skillet will help them cook and brown evenly. Fry the peppers and garlic, turning as necessary, until the peppers are evenly browned and blistered on all sides, and the garlic is golden brown, about 10 minutes for the peppers, less for the garlic. Remove and reserve the garlic cloves as the brown.
Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the peppers to a baking pan to cool. Reserve the oil in the pan and any juices from the pan.
Pull out and discard the core and seeds from the peppers, draining the juice from inside the pepper and adding it to the juices in the baking pan. Pull off as much of the skins from the peppers as possible, and tear each pepper lengthwise into four strips. Arrange the pepper strips in a serving dish as you work. Add the oil from the skillet and the reserved garlic to the juices in the baking pan and season to taste with salt. Sprinkle the pepper strips with a light coat of bread crumbs and toss to mix. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.