These red peppers get their name from the area of Greece ( Macedonia) where they come from. Florina (Greek: Φλώρινα), located in the mountainous northwestern region of Macedonia has the motto: 'Where Greece begins'.
These peppers that are grown there are deep red in color, but only after the ides of August. Before then, and as these peppers grow, they are actually green!
Due to Macedonian's climate and soil, the pepper flourished with the locals begin to grow it in the 17th century. The pepper has become so world renowned that, "Florina's red peppers were awarded the recognition of Protected Designation of Origin in 1994 by the World Trade Organization (WTO)." This means that unless the peppers are from the Florina region, they cannot be called such.
These peppers when roasted carry a depth of flavor. On its own, these peppers are known to have a lovely rich sweet flavor.
While this recipe is for roasting, these peppers are capable of so much more. For example, you can stuff them with all kinds of things. Popular Greek recipes in include rice, meat, shrimps and feta cheese. You could also use them for sauces (puree), diced for a salad, or added to pasta and meat recipes. The sweet flavor works well with proteins.
Additionally, they are also dried, canned and pickled. And lastly, for something even simple and a great way to showcase their flavors: try blending or finely chopping and combine with olive oil and roasted garlic to make a spread for toast or bruschetta.
As you can see, these little Greek peppers are able to be added, stuffed, with, and consumed on so many different things they are worth buying if you see them in the store. Give them a try!
- 2 pounds of pimiento peppers (sweet, long red)
- Salt (to taste, sea)
- Garnish: Olive oil (extra virgin)
- Garnish: Red wine vinegar
- Optional: Greek oregano
- Optional: Basil
- Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C).
- Wash and dry peppers, place on a roasting pan and cook for 1 hour. Carefully remove the skin while hot, slice open on one side and remove the seeds and cut out the stem.
- Serve at room temperature sprinkled with salt (oregano and basil if desired) and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar.
Appetizer serving suggestion: Michael Bash wrote in with this fabulous idea for Florines (as these are called in Greek), which he has been enjoying since 1973 when he arrived in Greece: "Cut some feta in 1/2 inch cubes.
Wrap one way with long enough slices of a roasted pepper. Secure with toothpicks. Spend half an hour making 20 or 30. Serve and watch disappear in 20 to 30 seconds."