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Chez Panisse recipe question

I'm hoping to make a "Pimiento Soup" recipe from the Chez Panisse Cooking book written by Paul Bertolli, and I'm looking for help with a thorny issue: what kind of pimientos is he talking about? Bertolli describes "pimientos" as red, heart shaped, not common in markets, and sweet with a hint of bite. someone have a clue?

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  1. Pimientos are a variety of sweet red bell pepper that are frequently found peeled and packed in a brine. I associate them with Spanish food, though they may be used in other cuisines. Does the recipe refer to canned or fresh? By the way, most pimientos are used to produce paprika. Can you post the recipe?

    1. I have seen real pimientos at the Berkeley Farmer's markets. Riverdog farms and Tip Top—both had very nice looking ones.

      1. They are also available at Ferry Plaza.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wally

          Fresh pimento peppers are bright red to red-orange, small, shaped more like little pumpkins than regular peppers are. They have prominent ridges/sections all around and are mild and bright in flavor.

          Does the recipe call for fresh pimentos? I'd bet it does if it's a Chez Panisse recipe.

        2. Have you tried calling the restaurant to ask who they might suggest as a vendor, especially if you are in the area.

          1. In gardening, pimiento (spelled as pimento) refers to any of a number of sweet, thick-walled pepper varieties called either pimentos or cheese peppers (which I grow). Big with the Amish/Menonites, the cheese peppers. This sounds like an Amish dish.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bandmaster

              Both spellings are correct.

              In Spanish, "pimiento dulce" is "sweet pepper."

              In French, "piment doux" is "sweet pepper."

              A pepper by any other name...would taste as sweet?

            2. Also, if not in season, you can use the canned version found at specialty markets such as the Spanish Table which carry amazing pimientos. They are roasted when farmed and peeled, packed with care and usually do well to stuff, fry, puree, or whatever

              1. Happy Quail Farms has fresh pimientos now. I await their getting ripe each season- they don't last too long at the farmers markets as they ripen so late. A lovely thing to eat if you have only known them in jars....

                I have found HQF at the Palo Alto and Menlo Park markets.

                4 Replies
                1. re: chowetta

                  thanks for this. I just called HPF and had a nice pimiento conversation with them, and they've confirmed that they'll have them for another few weeks. I guess everything has ripened late this year, and the cold nights are already brining on fall--making for a short season. I better get 'em while I can, lest this recipe have to wait until next year.

                  1. re: Daniel Duane

                    Score! Bought two pounds pimientos this weekend from Happy Quail Farms. Recipe to go down tonight.

                    1. re: Daniel Duane

                      Excellent! Do let us know how it turns out...

                      1. re: chowetta

                        well, here's the final recipe report: first, the recipe itself. It was pretty simple, basically a matter of roasting 2 pounds pimientos on the grill to blacken and remove their skins, then adding them to 2 diced and slow-sauteed onions to stew for ten minutes, pouring in a quart of homemade chicken stock, simmering 20 minutes, and then pureeing and sieving and seasoning serving with deep-fried polenta sticks. And the result was mild and lovely. Beautiful pinkish color, delicate and sweet flavor, smooth texture.