Grilled Kyoto-style Peppers with Tomato Puree
Discover the unique offerings at the Union Square farmers market, including lovingly grown Asian vegetables by Korean farmer Yuno. Atsushi shares a delightful recipe using fushimi togarashi peppers and heirloom Kyoto peppers, paired with a homemade tomato puree. Learn more about this Japanese culinary experience and share your thoughts in the comments!
On Mondays and Fridays at the Union Square farmers market, a farmer of Korean descent named Yuno sells lovingly grown Asian vegetables, the only one there who offers these varieties. Chef Atsushi Nakahigashi was thrilled to find at her stand fushimi togarashi, heirloom Kyoto peppers, and snapped up a bunch. These long green peppers have a sweet flavor that Atsushi brought out by gently grilling them on a cast iron griddle until they were tender.
He complimented the peppers with a simple tomato puree. Tomatoes, I'm, guessing were likely originally introduced to Japan by Portuguese traders (anyone know for sure? please email!). To prepare them, Atsushi first peeled ripe, pristine farmers market tomatoes with a sharp knife -- he doesn't blanch the tomatoes, a la Western cooking, to remove the skin because he feel they will lose flavor that way. He placed the tomatoes in a small pot and broke them up with a wooden spoon. Then he started cooking them uncovered over low heat. He added a little salt but nothing else. The tomatoes cooked slowly for two hours, turning into a concentrated, sweet and intensely flavorful puree. To eat, Atsushi suggested dipping the peppers into the tomato puree. Wow.