Chile – Corno di Toro

Corno de Toros are a beautiful, long, dark-red heirloom Italian pepper. 6-10 inches long, twisted or curved and pointed on the end. These deep crimson beauties are very sweet and intensely ‘peppery’. They’re a perfect roasting pepper-their skins blacken nicely, and shed easily–and are also good raw in salads. In my opinion the flavor of Corno de Toros is superior to that of red bell peppers.

Growing

They are relatively easy to grow, as long as they receive plenty of moisture and nutrients, are not subjected to cold and receive plenty of sunshine. Seeds should be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost. Peppers are often the last veggies waiting to go into the garden. Soil temperature has to be quite warm, or they will just sit in the dirt and cry, waiting for the hot summer weather. When the temperature reaches 70 F, transplant 12 to 18 inches apart, fertilize, again when they are 12 inches tall and occasionally thereafter, depending on vigor. Plants should be staked or caged to avoid collapsing. These are 75-85 day plants, and normally will fully ripen starting in early August. corno plant

Corno de Toro seeds are available from Renee’s Garden, as well as the above referenced Grow Italian website.

Preparation

I roast them over an electric grill (I find that gas flame roasting makes them much harder to peel). When blackened, they go into a paper bag for 15 minutes to steam and cool. The peels will then slip off easily. Remove the stem end and seed pods, slit the peppers open, and scrape away the remaining seeds. Slice the peppers into strips, toss in a bowl with a bit of salt, extra virgin olive oil and a splash of good balsamic. Use them anywhere you would roasted red bell peppers. Or leave them whole after peeling, and stuff with creamy goat cheese and serve cold drizzled with oil and vinegar. Or stuff them whole after peeling with a mixture of cooked rice, crumbled Italian sausage, whatever veggies from the garden you have extra of–(zucchini, or course, fennel, tomato, whatever–finely diced, and warm in the oven drizzled with good oil. Surely you can think of a dozen more ways. roasted cornos
Peppers are rich is goodness–one medium-sized pepper will provide almost the entire daily adult of vitamin C requirement and also contains vitamins such as B1, B2 and D, plus numerous minerals.

So go and compose a pepper meal. Padrones for appetizers, those Cornos with goat cheese on some chopped radicchio as a salad, and perhaps Poblanos stuffed with some variation of that rice-sausage mixture for a main course.

Check Also

Chile – Habanero Chocolate

If you like serious smoky sweet heat, step right up Chocolate habaneros are even spicier …