Urban farmers’ markets can be precious and pricey. There is nothing precious and pricey about Maple Acres Farm — a working farm located in Plymouth Meeting, just northwest of Philadelphia. Maple Acres has been my go-to place time and again for many a summer catering event. It’s a place I know I can find a wide range of just-picked seasonal produce. Izzy’s vet Dan is nearby so taking Izzy to see Dr. Dan always includes a visit to Maple Acres.
Maple Acres “pepper table” offers a variety of peppers from sweet to mildly hot to very hot. Handy signage guides your selection.
Sweet and hot is a combination that I love. Sweet tempers the heat and the heat intensifies the sweet. Here a quantity of red wine vinegar balances the sweet and prevents this relish from becoming candy. You may substitute other vinegars, but I find distilled white vinegar too harsh for nearly everything culinary.
The following recipe for Sweet and Hot Pepper Relish is what I served in Chilled Corn Soup — yesterday’s recipe. You will only need a little bit of relish for the soup –much less than this recipe will yield, but make extra to add sparkle to any grilled meat or poultry.
Sweet and Hot Pepper Relish
Use a mix of sweet and hot peppers. Of course, a higher proportion of hot yields a hotter relish. Today I used a colorful mix of red bell, purple bell, yellow Hungarian, deep green poblano and bright green frying and jalapeno.
Take care in handling hot peppers not to touch any tender membrane like your lips or eyes after you have handled hot peppers. Wash you hands well after handling.
Do ahead Relish can be made and stored in refrigerator up to a month
1 medium red onion — about 1/2 pound, finely diced
1 pound assorted sweet and hot peppers
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Trim stem end of each pepper. Cut away stem and discard. Slice remaining pepper in half and discard seeds. Trim away any thick membrane. Using a very sharp knife, cut peppers into long and very thin strips. Next, line up strips and cut strips into small dice. Dice pepper ends that surrounded the stem. Your goal is a fairly uniformly diced pepper — but don’t obsess.
2. Combine red wine vinegar, sugar and salt in pot and bring to slow boil. Add diced peppers and red onion. Return to slow boil and boil for 3-4 minutes. Off heat and allow to cool. Chill in refrigerator until cold.
Yields about 3 cups.
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