What the heck are vinegar peppers, and where can I get some?
Anyone catch Tony Soprano's sandwich order on Sunday night's episode? Cappicola, provolone, and vinegar peppers. My husband hasn't been able to stop thinking about this since we watched it. I've seen other dishes in Italian restaurants with "vinegar peppers" listed as a main ingredient, but I've never been able to find a jar labeled as such in any store, even the old-school Italian delis in the neighborhood. Anyone know what they are? I suspect the label says something different...
Vinegar peppers are an Italian specialty consisting of green bell peppers, sometimes sliced sometimes whole, and pickled in a vinegar mixture. Families have their own recipe handed down from generation to generation...some a closly guarded secret. You may be able to find "vinegar peppers" in an Italian salumeria...a store which sells Italian cold cuts, cheeses, and the like. BTW: They are delicioso!
Look for any variety of jarred peppers that have VINEGAR in its ingredient(s) label. Vinegar peppers are uncooked. Don't get the roasted ones -- they're roasted. Also, be aware that you have the choice of getting hot or sweet. Ask your husband what he'd like before buying anything. Some of the hot varieties can pack some real heat ( kinda like Tony Soprano ).
Here's two examples:
Vinegar Peppers are usually raw red bell peppers that have been pickled in white vinegar and salt, sometimes garlic. They are usually served with pork chops in an Italian restaurant. The peppers served with sauted sausages are cooked in a pan and do not have vinegar.
It's really easy to make your own, but you need to allow a couple of days for them to be ready. If you want to buy them ready made, steer clear of pimientos (roasted and soft), and things with citrus acid instead of vinegar -- those are cheaply made and will not quite give you the same effect. There are numerous variations -- for example, you can easily find pickled cherry peppers for a hotter effect in red or green (do not use stuffed ones to do this, use raw if you are doing yourself) or the long sweet peppers sometimes called Taglianelli or Mediterranean -- they also come in red, green and yellow. But generally, in the outer boroughs and New Jersey -- it is referring to a pickled, unroasted red bell pepper that still has some texture to it. Just be aware that using a vinegar pepper in a cooked dish definitely alters the flavor -- so they are not substitues for roasted bell peppers.
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