Cruschi peppers. What are they and how are they cooked?

by Redazione Fine Taste

What are bran peppers? Why are they called that? How are they cooked?

We tasted cruschi peppers for the first time a few years ago, passing through Maratea: it was love at first taste. Since then they have become an ever-present ingredient in our pantry.

Let's get to know them better together.


The crusco pepper should not be confused with the traditional pepper. It is, in fact, a specific "ecotype" of pepper, not spicy.

Its cultivation is mainly limited to Basilicata and some smaller areas in Abruzzo, Calabria and Puglia. In Basilicata it is also called Senise pepper.

It is a very particular and rare typical PGI product. Its introduction into the Lucanian territory dates back to the 16th century by the Spaniards who imported it from the Antilles.


In dialect, "crusco" means "crispy": this is precisely the characteristic of peppers. Once dried they can be fried very quickly to become not only crunchy but to release an aroma and taste that will win you over.

Little curiosity: did you know that Senise pepper contains 30% more vitamin C than other varieties of pepper?


The processing phases are simple and entirely manual. After harvesting, the peppers are placed on sheets in well-ventilated rooms for a few days; subsequently, with the help of needle and thread, real pepper necklaces are created, called "serte" or "nserte" . Finally, the necklaces are hung on the balconies by farmers or inside ventilated rooms away from direct light.

This is a fundamental step: the necklaces must be kept warm, in places with low humidity to avoid developing mold and away from direct sun. Once dried, the peppers can be packaged in bags and are ready to be fried.

Use in the kitchen

Finally we have arrived at the tastiest part: how do you use bran peppers?

This particular pepper has only two ways to be consumed.

Reduced to powder, it is used to enrich the taste, aroma and color of focaccias, pasta, pizzas and cured meats (its use as a natural coloring and preservative in Lucanian sausage is famous). The alternative and also the most widespread and well-known is to fry the dried pepper, making it crunchy and crunchy.

Important: these peppers should absolutely not be soaked in water as is usual with dried tomatoes.

Dried Senise peppers must be "prepared" for frying by cleaning them with a dry cloth and removing the stem. They can be "scalded" whole or in pieces in boiling peanut oil for no more than 2-3 seconds, making them swell. T ime is essential: going beyond cooking means burning the pepper! Once extracted from the oil they should be placed on a plate with absorbent paper waiting for them to cool, the temperature range will cause the peppers to become crunchy or crunchy, or rather very crunchy.


We at Fine Taste recommend a very simple recipe: plain pasta seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, poached egg, bran peppers and plenty of grated pecorino. Absolute pleasure!

Try our bran peppers and bran powder from a small artisan company in Satriano di Lucania, in the heart of the production area of ​​these wonderful products.