RICOTTA and FRIED PEPPERS (Peperoni fritti). The Butter Factory at Myrtleford

Her name is Naomi and she is very skilled at what she does.  But Naomi wishes to expand her expertise and she is travelling to Europe in the near future.
She is a champion butter maker at The Butter Factory at Myrtleford, a restored historic building.  She sources the cream locally and the butter is hand-made. And I admire her even more because she did it the hard way, first by helping her mother to set the place up, developing her trade and by finding the abandoned, rusty machinery in various old sheds and paddocks and having it reconditioned – she has a cooling, a heating and a separating machine and all three work a treat.
Naomi also makes pure buttermilk and has been making small quantities of ricotta with buttermilk. She sells her produce locally from The Butter Factory and at Victorian farmers markets – driving from Myrtleford to markets in Melbourne on weekends after a hard week takes some determination. She intends to pursue her ricotta making skills and wishes to try smoking some of her ricotta soon.
Her Mother Bronwyn Ingleton cooks on the same premises – I sampled some of her cooking recently in the cafe and judging from the number of customers eating her food, I am not the only one to enjoy it.
When I first discovered Naomi’s produce, I discussed in a previous post eating the slightly sour tasting ricotta with poached figs. This time I presented the ricotta as an antipasto with fried red peppers, the long, banana shaped variety which Italians fry (I bought these from a grower in Myrtleford). The red coloured peppers are sweeter, but when you buy them ask if they are hot – they often are, and in this case could overshadow the delicate taste of the ricotta.
red, banana peppers (I used just over 1 kilo)
extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup or more
wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon
sugar, ¾ tablespoon
salt to taste
Cut the peppers lengthwise in half, remove the seeds and ribs and cut into strips.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan (don’t crowd them or they will stew), add the peppers and fry on high heat. Toss them about often to prevent burning.
Add salt and once softened and when they begin to brown, add vinegar and let evaporate.
Add a pinch of sugar and stir gently for about 1 minute.
The peppers are presented at room temperature with the ricotta.