With the proliferation of cooking, travel and cooking-travel shows on TV, and with the Internet and food blogs, not to mention all the magazines and pamphlets at the grocery checkout stand, I'm always mildly surprised when someone has never heard of a particular regional or ethnic food. In the Pacific Northwest, I was taken aback to learn that some Italian Catholic neighbors had never heard of P & E. Neither have the people I work with, nor the three Italian restaurants within walking distance of the house. Apparently, the recipe for this Lenten special never made it over the Continental Divide. My friend Tony from high school in Chicago (this is how far back we go: his user name--DagoT--used to be his CB handle) always ordered his "wid" hot peppers: that is okay. Just don't try to gussy it up with a roasted red pepper mayonnaise; as Tony likes to say, "It's good, but it ain't right." —betteirene
Half a loaf of crusty Italian bread, or 2 6-inch rolls
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 large red or green bell pepper (or a combination of both colors), roasted, peeled and diced
4 eggs, beaten
Coarsely-ground black pepper
2 ounces provolone or mozzarella, shredded or sliced (optional)
Slice the loaf of bread (or the rolls) lengthwise without cutting all the way through. Warm the bread by placing it directly on an oven rack; turn the heat to 350 degrees, and when the thermostat kicks off, turn off the oven but leave the bread in it until you have cooked the eggs. The ouside of the bread should be slightly crusty but the inside should remain soft.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions; saute, stirring now and then, until onions are soft, lowering the heat if necessary so that garlic doesn't burn. Add red pepper flakes and roasted peppers and cook for a few minutes until they're heated through.
Pour the eggs into the skillet; stir to mix well, then reduce heat to low. Allow the eggs to cook though and set up to your liking, stirring occasionally, but do not scramble them. (You don't want a curd-like texture.) Add pinches of salt and pepper to taste. If using cheese, place it on the bread now, then spoon on the eggs. If any oil remains in the skillet, drizzle it over the eggs. Slice the loaf in half. Place sandwiches on serving plates, cover with a paper towel and let it rest for a minute to allow the flavors to blend before serving. Serve with giardiniere, if desired. If you are making this for a brown-bag lunch, wrap the sandwich in waxed paper or parchment.