I don’t like saying good-bye to summer. I’m not a fan of the short, dark days of winter or, for that matter, the cold. I like heat. I’ll take 95 over 35 any day of the year, even if here in Virginia it is usually accompanied by 95 percent humidity.
When I was young the end of summer meant the end of our two-month sojourn in Italy; it meant saying good-bye to my three aunts, my mother’s sisters, and all of the attention (and trinkets) they lavished on my sister and me. It meant saying good-bye to our family beach house, to endless hours of sunbathing and swimming, to three-hour fish dinners, and, for a few years when I was a teenager, to the recurring summer romance with my first boyfriend.
Now the end of summer means the end of sleeping in and lazy do-nothing days with my husband and kids. Everyone is up by 6 and out the door by 7:15. This morning when I poured my first cup of coffee stars were still visible in the sky. I know I should feel refreshed, invigorated by the cooler mornings, but there’s something about the soft air and the syrupy light that sets me yearning—for what I don’t even know. You probably feel it, too.
I do know that I am not ready for pumpkin and crookneck squash still-lifes on front porches, and certainly not for the in-your-face store displays of candy and Halloween costumes (typing those last two words really made me cringe) that have already taken over my little corner of suburbia.
Thank goodness for peppers. Peppers are September’s vegetable. Like September, they balance between two seasons, a path of stepping-stones ready to guide you from one side to the other, from summer to fall. Their colors—red, yellow, purple, green—belong to both seasons and so does their flavor—bright and sharp or, with a little taming by flame, sweet and mellow. There’s still time to grill them, if you like, but maybe, just maybe, you are thinking about turning them into a gorgeous red-hued soup, or a gentle sauté.
My favorite way to eat peppers, though, is with eggs. Peppers and eggs. Just typing those words gives me an appetite. Fried eggs with peppers, omelets with peppers, scrambled or baked eggs with peppers. However you choose to cook them, peppers and eggs are in perfect harmony, a lovely duet for a transitional season. Sitting down to a plate of peppers and eggs may not entirely quiet the yearning but it always satisfies my hunger.
Copyright 2010 Domenica Marchetti
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin
- About 1 pound mixed peppers—red, yellow, purple—including 1 or 2 mildly hot ones, if you like, trimmed, seeds and pith removed, cut into thick strips
- 1 red onion, cut lengthwise into thin wedges
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A few leaves fresh basil, torn into pieces or coarsely chopped
- A small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 4 large farm-fresh eggs
Put the olive oil and garlic into a large skillet and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic begins to soften but is not browned. Add the peppers and onion and toss to combine the vegetables with the oil. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the vegetables. Raise the heat to medium and sauté, stirring from time to time, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peppers and onions are tender (but not mushy) and browned in spots.
Toss in the basil and parsley and stir to combine. Make 4 wells in the skillet by moving aside some of the peppers and onions. Break the eggs into the wells, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook just until the whites are set but the yolks are still golden and runny.