Aug
08
    
Posted (Lori) in News

BROILING PEPPERS

A lot of you probably already know about broiled peppers, but if you’ve never done it, it’s going to be a revelation. The big, meaty peppers we’re getting this week are perfect for broiling. Red and yellow ones are best, but even green peppers take on a whole new level of sweetness when broiled. For some reason, these are often called roasted peppers, even when they are cooked in the broiler. Some people achieve the same effect by holding the pepper over an open flame and turning it until it chars; I always burn my fingers when I try to do it that way.

Broiling peppers is easy. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and flatten them slightly. Place them on a cookie sheet, skin side up, close but not touching. Place them under a broiler—close to the flame but not touching. Broil for about 5 minute, then keep checking them. When the skin is black and blistered, take them out and let them cool. The skin will peel off easily, The flesh is now soft and juicy. I eat these just as they are; some people toss them with oil and vinegar. They’re a great side dish all by themselves, but also can be added to salads, soups, and pasta. Pureed, with a little cream, they’re an amazing dip. Thin it a little, and you have a soup that is incredibly flavoful, low-cal, and low-cost

Broiled peppers—or the dips and soups—freeze well. The texture is not as good when they’re thawed, but they’re still fine for pureeing.

BROILED PEPPER DIP—makes about ½ cup

Flesh from two large peppers—red, green, yellow, or a mixture

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar—red, balsamic, or any flavorful vinegar

2 tablespoons sour cream

Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Put everything into a food processor and pulse until smooth.

VARIATIONS:

–Add capers or olives before you puree or chop them into the finished dip

–Add a handful of chopped nuts, either before or after pureeing

–Season with soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce

–Add chopped garlic or chives (even leeks or onions); herbs such as thyme, basil and summer savory are also good additions

–Thin with milk, cream, or vegetable stock to make a soup; serve hot or cold, with croutons or chopped vegetables.

JULIA CHILD’S PIPERADE (adapted)

6 medium tomatoes

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

4 ounces thinly sliced Bayonne ham (or prosciutto), cut into 1/2-inch squares

2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced

2 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves

1 medium bay leaf

2 medium red bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips

2 medium green bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips

2 teaspoons piment d’Espelette (or paprika or cayenne pepper; or chopped hot peppers, with the seeds removed, to taste)

Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a medium bowl halfway with ice and water. Using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato. Place tomatoes in boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain tomatoes and immediately immerse them in ice water bath. Using a small knife, peel loosened skin and cut each tomato in half. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds and core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.

NOTE FROM LORI: I skip the step above because tomato skins don’t bother me; I just chop the tomatos roughly. Your choice)

Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Once oil shimmers, add Bayonne ham (or prosciutto) and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Return pan to heat, add 2 teaspoons oil, and, once heated, add garlic and onion. Cook, stirring rarely, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt. Cover and cook, stirring rarely, until peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in diced tomatoes, browned ham, and piment d’Espelette (or paprika or cayenne pepper) and season well with salt. Cook uncovered until mixture melds together and juices have slightly thickened. Serve hot.

AND AN ITALIAN VERSION

PEPERONATA (from The Food Network Kitchen)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 red bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips

2 yellow bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips

2 orange or green bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips

(again—the peppers in our share this week will work fine)

1 large onion, sliced into half-moons

4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon sugar

4-5 Roma or other plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh basil, leaves torn roughly

Lemon juice

1 Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the onions. Sprinkle with a little salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onions just begin to color.

2 Add the peppers and stir well to combine with the onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. The peppers should be al dente—cooked, but with a little crunch left in them.

3 Add the garlic, and sauté another 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle a little more salt over everything and add the sugar and dried oregano. Cook 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, and cook just one minute further.

4 Turn off the heat and mix in the torn basil. Grind some black pepper over everything. Right before serving squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish.

AVOCADO, GREEN PEPPER AND TOMATO SALAD, from Martha Stewart Meatless

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 small garlic clove, minced

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Coarse salt

1 firm, ripe avocado, halved and pitted

1/2 yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish

Preparation

1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and cayenne. Season with salt.

2. Scoop out flesh from avocado halves, reserving shells, and chop. Transfer to a bowl and add bell pepper, tomatoes, scallion, and chopped cilantro.

3. Drizzle with dressing and season with salt. Gently stir to combine. Spoon mixture into reserved shells. Garnish with whole cilantro leaves and serve immediately.



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