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I felt I had to write a blog about Melrose Peppers. They are my Hubby’s absolute favorite! He waits eagerly every summer when they appear at our local Italian store.
You won’t find them any where else, in fact many people don’t know what they are. I’ve had women and men come up to me as I was picking them out, asking “what do you do with these?” “how do you make them?” Well the answer is very simple. You have to rinse and dry them off, then you cut the tops off and scoop out the seeds, (don’t worry if you don’t get all the seeds out because they taste sort of good!)

Leave them whole, then sauté them in a hot pan with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little granulated garlic until they’re nice and  golden brown, then lower the heat and throw in a small 8oz can of tomato sauce.( Italian brand preferred), or some cherry tomatoes like I did above.

Cook them till they are nice and soft, NOT mushy. Every time I make melrose peppers  the smell brings my Hubby back to his childhood when his Mom use to make them. They’re not a fancy food, their plain and simple comfort food.

His famous words are (“I can make a meal out of these!”) And he does, with some good Italian bread and a plate of Melrose Peppers he’s a Happy Man!!

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  1. how can i have a crate of melrose park peppers sent to me in arizona? i was born in oak park and lived in melrose park until i was 6, i’ am 75 now and yearn for those peppers.

  2. Kathleen Keller says

    How can I harvest Melrose pepper seeds. Where should I put them when they are completely dry? When should they be planted for seedlings, and plant after chance of frost is over? Love yhese little gems. I just fry them up w/ garlic, S&P on fresh Italian bread> YUMMY!

  3. I love Melrose Peppers! Just found a place online selling seedlings if anybody missed the window on starting their seeds indoors this year.

  4. I love these peppers! I just fried some up in olive oil and am getting ready to bake some egg braids. My favorite way to eat them is to top fresh slices of egg bread with laughing cow cheese, fried melrose peppers and a sprinkle of salt. There is nothing better 🙂

    Another favorite way to make them is to add them to a fresh tomato sauce and serve over spaghetti and thin Italian green beans.

  5. The Melrose pepper looks very much like the Marconi pepper, a sweet Italian. We grew them this summer and they are still producing. I found your blog looking for recipes for my Marconi’s. 🙂

  6. I found melrose peppers at Caputos on North Ave they smelled so wonderful and fragrant I had to buy a few pounds and at.99 cent a pound how could you go wrong. I washed them kept them whole tossed them in a bit of olive oil threw them on the BBQ in a grill pan for 2 min or so put them back in the bowl with the oil and sprinkled them with kosher salt used the stem as a handle it was a perfect simple dish mmmm so good.

  7. Grew up in Elmwood Park. Back in the day, we would go to Naples Market in Melrose Pk, and my dad would get 5lbs at a time..Fried in olive oil with salt, is the only way to truly enjoy this delicious summer treat. Just had some last week at the annual family end of summer party, on a skirt steak sandwich….The Best!
    Barbara Galgano

  8. Ed, Caputo’s has tons of them!

  9. Thinking some asigo cheese would work quite nicely. Haven’t checked the local market to see if they are available yet this season. If your in the Chicago land area and find them … perhaps a location shout out.

  10. Rogue, I actually do stuff them with fontina and a piece of grilled sausage! Mmmmm!

  11. any suggestions on stuffing these little beauties with breadcrumbs, parmesan, or italian sausage. Or how about all three?

    • we stuff them with medium hot sausage, and others are stuffed with our meatball mixture then we add tomatoes and and bake them in olive oil

  12. My mom’s family is from Westchester, and my grandma always made hot dogs and peppers (a family favorite to this day).

    Fry up the melrose peppers with garlic and olive oil, and while they’re cooking add the hot dogs. The hot dogs will get brown and puffy and absorb the flavor of the peppers. It’s delicious.

    Note: the cheaper brand hot dogs taste much better with this recipe.

  13. Ummm….we used to hang them to dry, when dried completely and turn red,carefully remove seeds leaving the peppers whole and brown quickly in olive oil. Lightly salt,a crunchy wonderful treat. We grew up in Melrose Park, now live in Florida and we’ve been unable to grow them here.

  14. I found this blog while looking for seeds to purchase to grow these peppers here in Wisconsin where I live.

    I was raised in Melrose Park and lived there until I was 25. Graduated from Proviso east in 1967. I moved North and made a family, but have eaten these delicious peppers all my life. Now, I will have a garden again after a long absence and will grow some.

    My dad loved them fried real crispy, actually with a lot of burnt edges. We’d use them on Italian Sausage, From Food Town in Melrose Park for so many years, imported to the Northland by frequent trips to see the family in Chicago. Also made the Friday “pepper and egg”. We still do that, but not just on Fridays.

    Glad I found this blog. I like to think I’m a good Italian cook, but I guess there are more than one around.


  15. How about adding some HOT peppers to the melrose peppers———THAT would be absolutely DELICIOUS!!!

  16. Chicago City Homes, Thanks for visiting and Thanks for the tip! We went to a couple places to buy the plants in the spring but they were already gone. My Hubby will be at Caputo’s on harlem next year early spring! Thanks again!!

  17. ChicagoCityHomes says

    After living in Galewood for 21 years, one certainly learns about Melrose Peppers! Recently went to Augustino’s restaurant on Harlem, and Mamma had fried them up in oil & garlic and then added plum or grape tomatoes! Yummmmmmm. Thanks for the recipe. My husband’s garden is producing mega crop of Melrose (and other) peppers this year. You can buy the plants in early spring at Caputos on Harlem for garden planting.

  18. Trish Capulli says

    My husband has the same story about growing up in the Chicago area and being introduced to Melrose peppers by his favorite uncle. I searched for a long time and found an online source for seeds. We aren’t in IL so we grow our own up in WI. You can order them from Underwood Gardens online. I think they are located in Woodstock, IL.
    p.s. We sautee them and have with italian sausage. We grow so many that we cut them into stips and freeze to enjoy all year round.

  19. As Polish kid growing up with some old world Italian friends …
    My summer is NOT complete without the delectable flavor and enjoyment of a sandwich made with pan fried Melrose peppers, hot cappacolli, imported provolone cheese, freshly sliced tomato on a fresh crusty Italian bread roll drizzled with a herb based vinegar & oil dressing. Perhaps a side of Italian style potato salad.
    Mouth orgasms….
    I have found the melrose peppers at Valle produce stores, The egg stores and small produce stores in and around the Chicagoland area.

  20. I will have to look for these at our Italian market/deli. Your preparation sounds great. I can imagine with some mozzarella cheese on top, it REALLY would be a meal!

  21. We grew up on these peppers too! They are delicious. In Italy they just call them “green pepper” because that is what you mostly see at the produce there. The peppers in Italy taste just the same as what we know as the “Melrose Pepper”. Try frying them with Italian sausage! We sometimes have them as sausage and pepper sandwiches.

    Louie Allocco

  22. VALLI, You can absolutely use sweet peppers, I have made them that way also. Thanks for visiting!

  23. I can’t say that I have heard of this type of pepper but the recipe sounds delicious. I wonder if I could just use sweet peppers?

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