If you grew up in an Italian-American family, then you know the hype of Italian Long Hot Peppers, also known as Italian Frying Peppers. The mere sight of a dish of Italian long hots making their way to the antipasto table is a beautiful, exciting experience. How hot will they be? You'll never know till you try. This recipe is a little different in that it calls for slow roasting the peppers in oil and then topping them in a delicious parmesan breadcrumb topping.
Most Italian Americans I know make these peppers 1 of 2 ways:
- The first way is to simply roast the chili peppers and some whole garlic cloves in a lot of olive oil until they're fall-apart soft... similar to a confit.
- The second way is to stuff them with a delicious cheesy breadcrumb mixture.
Now, both methods are to die for! But it's always a struggle to decide which way to make them.
Therefore, the recipe I'm about to share with you is the perfect crossover of both... slow roasted Italian long hot peppers and garlic, topped with delicious crunchy parmesan breadcrumbs. This way, you don't have to choose! Disclaimer, this method was all my sister's idea.
When to make them
You can and should make this recipe all year long. In the summer months, when you don't want to turn on the oven, you can make them in an aluminum dish on the grill. They make such an incredible side dish for grilled pork, hot Italian sausage, and steak all year round.
They're also amazing for adding a bit of spice to roast beef, turkey, broccoli rabe, and pork sandwiches. Especially if that sandwich also has a few slices of good quality sharp provolone cheese. Is your mouth watering yet?
Finally, I'd argue that Italian Americans eat Italian long hot peppers most often on holidays and gatherings. They're typically part of the antipasto or "appetizer" spread.
How to make this Italian Long Hot Pepper Recipe
This Long Hot Pepper Recipe is a 2 step process. The hardest part might be tracking down these elusive Italian peppers. You just roast the peppers and garlic in lots of olive oil. And in the meantime you can make the breadcrumb topping by toasting the breadcrumbs on the stovetop for just a couple minutes. Here are some more details...
For the Peppers
- Italian Long Hot Peppers
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Lemon or orange peel (not mandatory but adds delicious flavor)
- Dry thyme, rosemary, and/or bay leaves (use at least 1 dry herb for flavor)
- Black pepper (optional)
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or sherry vinegar (not traditional, but delicious)
For the Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese
See recipe card for exact amounts
This is really such an easy recipe because the oven does most of the work. The only hands-on part is toasting the breadcrumbs, which takes 2 minutes. That crunch is worth it in the end.
Step 1: Place the Italian Long Hot Peppers long ways in an 8x10 baking dish. Then add the dry herbs, salt, and pepper and top with the olive oil.
Step 2: Roast peppers in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 1 hour, tossing every 15-20 minutes so all the peppers make contact with the oil. When they're done, the peppers and garlic will be so soft and luscious. And the flavorful herb-infused garlic oil is next level. The ultimate dipping oil for fresh Italian bread.
Step 3: Meanwhile, while the peppers roast, make the breadcrumb topping. To do so, heat the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to coat in the butter. Cook them, tossing frequently, for about 2 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Turn off the heat, transfer them to a small bowl or plate to cool off, and add the grated cheese.
Step 4: Remove the peppers from the oven and discard the bay leaves and lemon rinds, if using. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the lemon juice or sherry vinegar, if using. DO NOT discard the oil! Top peppers with the breadcrumbs and serve right away. If making ahead of time, top the peppers with the breadcrumbs right before serving.
Enjoy! Make sure to save that delicious oil too. Serve it in a side dish alongside the peppers. It's magnificent for dipping bread.
- Make sure to toss the peppers every so often so they cook evenly.
- Use at least 6 garlic cloves, or 1 clove per person if serving to a larger group. Everyone always wants a clove!
- Don't forget to mix the peppers every 15-20 minutes so they cook evenly and all have a chance to cook in the oil at the bottom of the baking dish.
- Wait until breadcrumbs have cooled for 5 minutes before adding the cheese. You don't want it to melt and become stringy or clumpy)
- I tend to leave the stems on for a more rustic look. But feel free to cut them off prior to roasting.
Italian Long Hots FAQ
What are Italian Long Hot Peppers?
They're a type of long slim pepper that were brought back to Europe by colonizers around the 1500s. Read more about their history here, at specialtyproduce.com. They grow well in Italy's relatively warm southern climate. And they have a nice spicy and sweet flavor profile too. They're pretty complex!
Note: some other types of long slim peppers are sold as Italian long hots even though they're not exactly the same. These varieties tend to be delicious and work just as well as replacements.
How spicy are they?
Italian long hot peppers vary a lot in their Scoville heat units. So it's kind of like Russian Roulette of Peppers... On the spiciest end, they're a little less spicy than a jalapeño... Which is pretty hot when your'e just popping them into your mouth! On the mild end, they come in just as mild as poblano or cubanelle peppers (very little spice, if at all)
Where can I buy Italian Long Hots?
Living in New York and New Jersey for most of my life, I've never had much of an issue tracking down long hot peppers. Many grocery stores sell them, especially in Italian-dense areas of the country like the Tri-State area. They may be labeled as "frying peppers" or "long horn peppers." Look for long green and/or red peppers, about 6 inches in length. Some of them are even longer, at around 8 inches.
- The only major substitution you would need to make to this recipe is the type of pepper you use. If you can't find Italian long hots, you can use any long slim pepper with mild-moderate spice. Or use a mix of banana peppers, jalapenos, cubanelles, and/or poblanos. These four alternatives have varying spice levels, with jalapenos being the hottest. So use whatever peppers suit your spice tolerance.
- Type of breadcrumbs: It's fine to use regular breadcrumbs, but Panko is crunchier.
- Dairy free: simply leave out the parmesan cheese if you have dairy intolerant friends joining you for dinner.
- Gluten free: for gluten intolerance, you can substitute the panko breadcrumbs with these gluten free Panko breadcrumbs!
- Less spicy: Mix in peppers that are known for being more mild. For instance, you can replace half of the long hots with 2 regular bell peppers, cut into slices.
Leftover long hots can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days before losing their freshness. I love eating these leftover peppers for breakfast with a slice of provolone and an over easy egg on a piece of toasted bread.
To reheat, the microwave does a fine job. You can also pop them in a toaster oven, which will better toast up the breadcrumbs.Print
For the Peppers
- 1 pound of Italian Long Hot Peppers
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves OR 1 clove per person
- 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange peel or zest (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of dry thyme, oregano, rosemary, and/or bay leaves (use at least one dry herb)
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or sherry vinegar (optional)
For the Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping
- ½ cup of Panko Breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese (or pecorino)
- ½ tablespoon of butter (salted or unsalted are both fine)
- Place the Italian Long Hot Peppers long ways in an 8x10 baking dish. Then add the dry herbs, salt, pepper and top with the olive oil. Toss to coat.
- Roast the peppers in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 1 hour, tossing every 15-20 minutes so all the peppers make contact with the oil.
- Meanwhile, while the peppers roast, make the breadcrumb topping. Heat the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to coat in the butter. Cook them, tossing frequently, for about 2 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Turn off the heat, transfer them to a small bowl or plate to cool off, and stir in the grated cheese.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and discard the bay leaves and lemon rinds, if using. Using tongs, transfer peppers to a serving bowl and top with the lemon juice or sherry vinegar, if using. DO NOT discard the oil! Top peppers with the breadcrumbs and serve right away with the extra oil on the side.
Keywords: italian long hot peppers, italian long hots, italian long hot peppers recipe