Cornetti or friarielli: beyond the language border

by Lina Malafronte

Friggitelli, friarielli, cornetti, peperoncini del fiume. Almost a Babelic confusion that makes us change the Italian saying into “town you go to, a name you find”. Don’t panic. Even if they may be named in different ways moving from the city to the province, we all agree in acclaiming their undeniable good taste.

Green were the fried tomatoes served at the Whistle Stop Cafè, green – abut not only –  are the sweet peppers that at La Notizia, sizzled in oil and then used on the pizza, marked, to everyone’s surprise, these unusually hot days.

To date available, protagonists with some other ingredients of the Mediterranean diet (more than ever before our eyes), they paint the fruit and vegetable counters with their radiant hues because, as they change their name if we move from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius to the coast, they also vary their color if left on the plant in the sun. From yellow to orange and then red: with a perfect Aristotle’s syllogism that lets us understand their nature, they pigment their skin in the dazzling star shades.

Caressed by the star that reddens them – and us – during the summer, they ripen one after the other until they turn into bombs of vitamins with very few calories that we all like, especially the people addicted to dieting.

If you are not among those who, to digest them, are forced to do the acrobatic flips between sheets and pillows, then green light to endless recipes with them.

Cook them as you like, just choose the right ones. Square-shaped, with or without the tip, long, conical, round or bull’s horn peppers like the ones that in Enzo Coccia’s hands, after being sautéed, have become, with smoked buffalo mozzarella and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the topping of a delicious pizza created during this unseasonably warm autumn.

Like the symbol so dear to the Neapolitans, the inevitable trinket of good luck, the one we use, at least once in our lives, when needed, the one that at the Neolithic huts doorstep was a fertility icon, loved and indispensable gift, even transformed into a work of art, the peppers selected by the master pizzaiolo are elongated and pointed at the end.

Different profile, thus, but also a different size than the other varieties. However, despite their compact aspect, these vegetables reveal a big flavor.

So, there are places in the Campania region where, thanks to the special composition of the soil, these peppers grow with their intense sweetness and their vivid colors, creating an astonishing scenery.

Let’s eat them now, before they give way to those grown in the greenhouses and a situation certainly not for us, we will have to wait until next summer for enjoying them again.