“It may be blazing hot but that shouldn’t stop you from deep-frying,” is what I said to myself a few days ago when I decided to make one of my favorite Cantonese dishes. Yes, it was hot in Santa Cruz – in the high 80s inside our house. We wanted to go out to eat but our local Asian options are limited and frankly, not very good. On the other hand, we have amazing ingredients, thanks to Santa Cruz County’s agricultural wealth.
Our farmer’s markets are flushed with ripe peppers these days. I’m not talking regular bell peppers, but Hatch, Jimmy Nardello, Fresno, Jalapenos, Serranos, Thai, Pasilla, Shishito, Padron, and rarities such as Espelette. Tomatoes – from crazy looking heirlooms to candy-like dry-farmed fruits, are being sold by many local farms.
Needless to say, I came home with a variety of peppers and a bunch of tomatoes. Hatch chiles are usually grilled but I also use them in place of bell peppers in stir-fries. (In general, I have a burp aversion to lots of bell peppers in my food.) The dry-farmed tomatoes (below with Fresno chiles) are so sweet right now that I decided to brave the heat and combine the peak produce to make sweet and sour pork.