Sara’s Kitchen: Habanada Confit
Part of my weekly routine includes a Saturday morning trip to the Broad Street Market.
I could probably write several dissertations on the glory that is this market and my deep love for it and so many of its vendors, but I’ll skip much of that for the time being.
Part of my visit always includes a stop at Radish & Rye Food Hub, owned by Julia & Dusty James (Fun Fact: Julia and I have been friends since high school!). Often, I plan my meals based on their weekly blog/email showcasing the week’s featured produce.
Almost no matter what circumstances, I pick up delicious whole milk, the best (and admittedly, most expensive) Greek yogurt I’ve ever had in my life, and a sourdough baguette every week from Radish & Rye.
While pregnant (since I was home almost every weekend), this baguette was often my lunch and dinner. I love to simply slice it and dip it in Fasta & Ravioli Company’s Chef’s Blend EVOO.
However, this summer Julia introduced customers to the Habanada pepper. Read that again closely. Haba-NADA. It’s a pretty orange pepper that looks deceivingly like a habanero — a nightmare for some, but even if you like them, you need very few to bring an edible heat to whatever you’re cooking. The Habanada, on the other hand, has the fruity flavor of a habanero with none — zero — of the heat.
While Julia jumped into love with the habanada, I’ll admit the concept evaded me at first. But then, I took the recipe she created (adapted from an oil-roasted cherry tomato recipe I’ll also be stealing when I have tomatoes again next year), and I’m hooked.
The first time I made this, I just used a 1/2 lb of habanada peppers, what Julia’s original recipe calls for — though she does recommend doubling it off the bat (summer + oven), and I ate the entire thing myself. I guess you’re supposed to share?
By the way, I know I get a pregnant pass on eating like a horse, but do you know how much Vitamin C is in peppers? Like so much!
Today, I made this with a few minor tweaks, doubled the recipe, and plan to (I guess) share the leftovers with Andy and Jimi tomorrow during football alongside what a food blog would call “taco casserole” but will be, in reality, nachos (Nachos rule).
Recipe adapted from Julia James, Radish & Rye
- 1 lb Habanada peppers, quartered lengthwise*
- 1+ cup olive oil (I actually used the reserved oil from my last batch, plus more since this time I was cooking more peppers, doubling down on that sweet flavor)
- Kosher salt
- Calicutts Spice Co. Sumac** (I am obsessed)
- Preheat oven to 300-degrees
- Arrange cut peppers in a small baking dish
- Add reserved oil+ (if needed) so that peppers are about half-submerged
- Season with kosher salt and sumac (so pretty!)
- Give it a good stir to coat everything
- Roast for 90 minutes, stirring every 20-30 minutes, until peppers are nearly falling apart and edges are beginning to caramelize.
- Let cool at room temperature. Use fine mesh strainer to pour off oil into a jar.
- Season with salt to taste, if needed, and a sprinkle of sumac if you wanna.
Enjoy warm or room temperature, slathered on a sourdough baguette, or like, whatever you want (tomorrow I’ll pair with tortilla chips). Julia recommends topping with cheese like Asiago, but I just kind of like it as-is.
To store, pour some of the reserved oil back over the peppers to cover. They should keep for over a week, if you can make them last that long!
*If you follow me at all, you know I’m a lazy cook. Andy is responsible for the mashed potatoes in our house because I would rather just roast them (and any vegetable, but that’s another story for another day). When I make tomato sauce, I don’t blanch, skin or de-seed them. So it’s going to surprise you to hear that I roughly de-seeded the habanadas. Obviously not because of heat (they don’t have any!), but because the membranes and seeds seemed a bit overwhelming when left alone. Fortunately, there is no need to do this in any careful manner and a few seeds and membranes aren’t going to hurt anyone. Do it or don’t, I don’t care.
**Sumac is a dried and ground berry, used primarily in Mediterranean cooking. It adds a bright, citrusy acidity. I read it described as when you want citrus flavor but without the pesky liquid. Put it on and in everything. I love it on air-popped popcorn, among other things. If I mention one of my “secret ingredients,” I could be talking about sumac. Buy it at Calicutts Spice Co. in Lemoyne.