Submitted for your approval: a recipe for a modest but delicious worker’s lunch, made with fresh ingredients from the late-summer garden:
The Peppers and Eggs Sandwich is the official sandwich of Labor Day USA.
Get four or five sweet green peppers from the farmers’ market — cubanelles, if they’re available, but bell peppers will do. (Some people want to use pricier red peppers, but it’s not necessary if you’re making peppers-and-eggs for yourself or next of kin.)
Remove the stems and seeds. Wash the opened peppers under cold water, then cut them into quarter-inch slices. (Do not dice.) Do not dry the peppers; if they remain a little wet from the sink, that’s actually a good thing.
Heat up some olive oil in a cast-iron skillet and, just before it starts to smoke, add all the pepper slices. You should hear crackles and pops. (Please make sure you’re wearing a shirt, or at least an apron.)
If some of the slices scorch, that’s not a bad thing. Reduce the heat a bit and cook the peppers for a few minutes, until they become soft but not mushy. Covering the pan will help the peppers soften.
Once the peppers have softened, beat four or five eggs and pour them into the skillet, over the peppers. The olive oil should be hot enough to make the eggs bubble a bit as they cook. Let the whole thing sit for about 30 seconds before you flip it with a spatula or spoon..
Add salt and pepper, a tablespoon of grated Parmesan, and a pinch of garlic powder. (I added a little mozzarella to the batch I made today. Some people like to add a slice of provolone.)
From this point, the finish of this dish comes quickly. In fact, I usually shut off the stove and leave the peppers and eggs in the hot pan for a couple of minutes.
Now you need Italian bread or rolls. (If you’re trying to avoid bread, please, avoid it the rest of the year. Peppers-and-eggs need to be eaten as a sandwich. Today I used Portuguese rolls I recently purchased in New England and froze.)
Make three or four sandwiches, then wrap them in aluminum foil, and let them sit for at least 15 minutes (longer, if you can bear it) because this will soften the bread and infuse it with the warm olive oil and the flavor of the salted peppers-and-eggs. (Depending on the drip factor of the concoction, I might add a little olive oil to the bread before stuffing the sandwich.
Warning: The aromas — indeed, the mere thought of a warm peppers-and-egg sandwich — can be pretty overwhelming as you near the finish line. In my experience, this working-class sandwich was prepared early in the morning for consumption during the noon lunch hour. And when a brown bag was used, sometimes spots of oil would appear, making the wait almost unbearable.
Buon appetito, Happy Labor Day and, as you inhale this great sandwich, let’s remember all the workers who came before us — our honorable, hard-working ancestors, many of them immigrants, who provided for their families and built our country.