From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While Americans tend to treat roasted peppers as a colorful addition to sandwiches, salads and pizza, they receive a more prominent role in Mediterranean countries, where they are served as a first course. It's pepper season here and because my eyes are bigger than my stomach, I now have a proverbial peck of them to pick. I've already done lots of canning and freezing, and the Silver Fox and I are connoisseurs when it comes to the use of piperade with chickens and their eggs, but I had never thought of serving peppers as a first course. It took Dorie Greenspan to set me straight. By way of explanation, I have to interject that I've never outgrown my childhood love of pictures. My attraction to cookbooks is, at least in part, based on the gorgeous photos they contain. The photo of her roasted peppers in Around My French Table, was a siren's song to me, and, like it or not, I was lured back into the kitchen to imitate, if not duplicate, what I had seen. While peppers can be roasted in a variety of ways, the recipe in her book utilized the oven. While I would normally use an outdoor grill, I wanted to follow her recipe as closely as I could, so, I used the oven and had great results. After the fact, I learned this recipe can also be found on her website, which you can link to here. She discusses various roasting times and techniques that you will find very helpful if you choose not to use the oven. I used a variety of bell peppers to get the color pop I wanted, but I must say the red peppers are the sweetest of the lot and I'll restrict my use to them in the future. I have a full compliment of herbs at this time of year, so I used the combination that was suggested in Dorie's recipe and I did use garlic. I can't imagine using olive oil without it. I served the peppers on small plates with knives and forks and had a basket of really good French bread to accompany them. It made for a great first course and I'll be serving this again. I love its simplicity and almost effortless assembly. The peppers are a perfect way to begin a meal of plain grilled meat or chicken. I hope you'll give this a try. Here's the recipe.
Roasted Peppers...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Dorie Greenspan
6 large bell peppers (a mix of red, orange and yellow)
Coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Assorted fresh herbs (a combination of parsley, basil, rosemary and thyme leaves)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, split
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1) Move a rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2) Wash and dry peppers, place on prepared pan and roast, turning every 15 minutes, for 45 to 60minutes, or until every side of peppers is blistered. Transfer peppers to a large bowl, cover bowl will plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and let rest until they are cool enough to handle.
3) While peppers cool, pull out a pyrex loaf pan, or, if you plan to use the peppers immediately, a large rimmed serving platter.
4) Working over a bowl, with 1 pepper at a time, remove stem and drain. Remove blistered peel and cut each pepper into 2 or 3 segments, depending on its natural separations. Scrape away seeds and ribs from inside. Place pepper pieces cut side down in loaf pan or on a platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, strew with garlic and herbs of your choice, then pour some olive oil over layer. Continue until all peppers are in pan or on serving platter. Chill. Garnish with fresh herbs before serving.
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