The cornerstone of our pepper garden is seeded with eighteen varieties of heirloom peppers. Hungarian, Italian, Russian and American heritage peppers. Each with a distinct flavor profile and food use from fresh eating, frying, stuffing or sautéing.
Everyone loves the peppers they grew up with. I’m no exception. I remember how overjoyed my Father was when he was finally able to travel back to Hungary and bring back his beloved “White Paprika” seeds, (the variety I grow today is “Feherozon”) These were the sweet, crunchy snack I would help myself to in the garden and the ones in my favorite meal “lecsó”. One of my strongest and best childhood memories is associated with this meal and these peppers. My father slicing four perfect sections from the seeded core, then cut those in half again, adding onions, slowly frying until barely translucent but still releasing their tender delicate aroma until they were lost, co-mingled with bacon, a sweet hint of tomato barely to the point of losing its skin. Finally, the fresh eggs from our white hens situated four leveled terraces up on our steep hillside property. Lesco can become a disgusting mess in the wrong hands, but my Father was a very patient deliberate man, slipping the eggs gently onto the vegetables then gently making little openings with the wooden spoon for the eggs to run into and cook softly while not disrupting the color composition of the dish, the yolks, and whites adding contrast to the red and yellow tomatoes and peppers.
With a fresh slice of thick, white, soft bread on the side and a cup of hot tea with sugar and a lemon ring floating on top, it became the best meal in the world.