Years ago, I was sent on assignment with a photographer named John Noltner to drive an RV through the length of Kansas with my whole family (including my mother).
Though this scenario could have been the premise for a deep and unrelenting nightmare, Noltner’s hardworking goof-balliness made it one of my best travel memories. We sat through a hootenanny. He shared parenting advice as one-year-old Sam toddled along a lakeshore—something like: “We all make mistakes, but as long as they know you love ‘em, they’ll be just fine.” We talked about making creative things in the Midwest, and how it was both awesome and a little lonely.
John continues inspiring with the vibrant, insightful photos he takes of people and places. You can check out his latest endeavor here, the gorgeous book, A Peace of My Mind, with a forward by Ela Gandhi.
Noltner contributes this much-loved family recipe from his Italian grandpa: charred tomatoes and peppers that should be mopped up with hunks from a fresh loaf of bakery bread. It rarely lasts a full day in the Noltner household. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
I’ve been noticing a lot of peppers around the markets lately, so maybe you can try it, and let me know if it lasts around your house, as you think about friends who have inspired your work by doing theirs well, and with a joyful goof-balliness that makes it all worth the ride.
PEPPERS AND TOMATOES by John Noltner
4 green peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
Rosario Fragala, my grandfather, put the skillet on the stove and blackened the peppers and tomatoes without oil, turning each time a section was burnt. Keep turning until entire pepper and tomato is black and blistered.Once this is done, clean and dice as stated at the end of this recipe.
Be forewarned: When he would make these, the smell and smoke would burn your eyes and the kitchen would smell for about three days!
Lay peppers and tomatoes in a pan and place in the broiler about 2-3 inches from flame—keep turning until they are blistered and black. Again, plan on a smelly kitchen!
Preheat the grill. Place peppers and tomatoes on hot grill and keep turning until blackened and blistered. This option keeps the smell outside.
CLEAN AND DICE
Once peppers and tomatoes are blackened, place in cold water until cool. Scrape the char off peppers with a knife. My grandpa used his pocket knife; I personally think it made them taste better. The blackening will kind of peel off in sheets. Next, remove seeds, rinse and dice. Do the same with the tomatoes and combine with peppers and other ingredients.
Posted by jen