Crunchy Peppers with Potatoes/Cruschi e Patate

All kinds of peppers thrive in the southern region of Basilicata (called Lucania in ancient times) from the slender heat packed diavolicchio (little devil) to the sweet red thin-fleshed, pointed pepper (peperone di Senise), often referred to as red gold. It comes from the agricultural area between the Agri and Simi rivers near the city of Senise. These peppers were granted I.G.P. status in 1996, which means that they are grown in a specific geographical area.

They are a cornerstone of Basilicata cooking. When fresh they are added to sauces, or stuffed with meat or grains. When dried, they are cooked very quickly for just a few seconds with potatoes for an extraordinarily tasty dish.

Cruschi means crunchy and the texture of these flash in the pan fried peppers is crisp like potato chips. You can find these peppers on line from Italian specialty stores.


  • Serves 4
  • 4 potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and microwaved or boiled until tender, cooled, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large whole garlic clove , sliced
  • 4 topeperoni Senise, stem tops and seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • Grinding black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the peppers one at a time about 30 seconds until they swell and take on a bright red color. Do not overcook them or they will turn black. Add more oil to the pan as needed.
  2. Drain the peppers on absorbent paper; when cool, cut them into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
  3. In the same pan with the remaining oil in the pan, cook the potatoes until they are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully combine the peppers with the potatoes and serve.
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