Cruschi !?

September 27, 2019

“Cruschi” .. (pronounced ‘crush-ski’).. is an unusual name, but an incredible gastronomic treat! It is what the people of Basilicata call Peperoni di Senise. They are hard to find outside of this region of Italy, so we are truly delighted to offer them here at La Jolie!

Still guessing as to what they are? …a dried sweet red pepper!

Apparently these peppers were brought to the ‘instep’ area of Italy from the Antilles by the Spanish. Now protected by the IGP, it is stipulated that the peppers originate only from the lands between the Agri and Sinni rivers near the historic hilltop town of Senise. They must also be hand-picked from August onward. As you can imagine – seriously labor-intensive in the heat of summer!

After gathering, the peppers are strung on fila and hung to dry. At this time of the year you will see them everywhere… outside houses, in drying sheds, on windowsills. By late autumn or early winter, the drying is complete and the peperoni are ready for the pan. Quickly fried in local olive oil, they combine the distinctive crunch with the sweet smokey tang of peppers.

From pasta to potatoes, and fried eggs to fish, ..crushi figure big in southern Italian fare. They also serve beautifully on the charcuterie board with cheese. Crumbled on top of fresh burrata, ricotta, or mozzarella is another heavenly match. Or, if you’re like me, you will probably enjoy them ‘Lucano-style’… as a snack all on their own. Fantastico!!