Bringing Europe Home

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Roasted Red Peppers

I am participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck, and I have pulled out my fine china and silver for the occasion.  Our gracious organizer is Ann at anunrefinedvegan, and I am bringing Roasted Red Peppers to the table.  Enjoy!

What It Is

I grew up watching my mother and my Nana cook, Italian style, and they did know their way around bell peppers.  Even now, the sound of bell peppers sputtering with onions on the stove and the aroma of them bathed in garlic and olive oil revive mouth-watering childhood memories for me.  In the tradition of grandmothers everywhere, my Nana cooked by “feel” rather than by recipe, and so does my mother.  So what I offer you today is not a strict recipe; rather, it is a guide.  I will hold your hand along the way and then set you free to play with the bells on your own.

Bring It Home

  1. Start with some choice red bell peppers (they have a sweeter flavor than green ones).  I used three large beauties for this recipe, and the result was just enough of this luscious, rustic side dish to fill the 500 ml ramekin pictured above.
  2. Roast the peppers.  You want a nicely charred skin, and there are several methods for obtaining that:
    1. Over the grill.  This is an ideal method for the summertime.
    2. Over the flame of a gas burner.  This is a “make do” method, and you need to hold the bell by some tongs, turning it constantly, in the manner of roasting marshmallows at a campfire.
    3. The broiler method.  This is the method I used for my dish.  I lined a cookie sheet with tin foil (only for ease of cleanup), and set the oven rack as high as it could go without the peppers touching the heating units.  Then I closed the oven door and worked at the nearby countertop, ever vigilant, tongs at the ready, checking the peppers and turning them as their skin buckled up and turned brownish black.  It took about 3-5 minutes per side, and I turned them about three times each.  I did set the oven timer to make sure I checked them regularly.

    They probably could have been even more charred than this.  In fact, they could have been black all over and that would have been fine, because the skin is coming off, anyway.  Which brings us to our next step.
  3. Let the peppers cool completely, then peel the skin.  Again, we have several choices!
    1. Simply let them sit there for about 15 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle, then peel them.
    2. Put them in a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic and let them steam for about 15 minutes, then peel.
    3. Put them in a brown paper bag, let them sit for about 15 minutes, then give the bag a little shake to help slough away the skin. (This is the way my mother and Nana always did it, so I did it that way too.)
  4. Cut or gently pull the top off the peppers and cut them in half.  Drain the liquid from them, core, seed, and pat them dry.  You want just the bells, ma’am, just the bells.
  5. Cut the peppers in strips, put them in your serving bowl, and dress them up.

This is your list of ingredients.  Think of it as paints in a palette or notes of a scale, then imagine yourself as an impressionist painter or a jazz musician—or an Italian grandmother—and see what culinary art you create.

  • Quality Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Italian seasonings
  • Sweet vinegar (such as rice vinegar or champagne vinegar)
  • Salt and pepper

For my dish, I used 3 tablespoons of olive oil, which works out to be 1 TBSP  per pepper, if you’d like a proportion.  I put one fat clove of garlic through the garlic press and scraped it onto the peppers.  I added three big basil leaves, sliced thin (easily proportioned, again!) and about one heaping tablespoon of chopped parsley.  A little shake of thyme, oregano, and a few grinds of salt and pepper finished the job.  I left out the vinegar (because I don’t really like it), but if you’re adding that, just a splash is all you’ll need.  If you don’t have a sweet vinegar and you want to cut the sharpness of what you have on hand, you could also add a drop of honey (which is another trick that my mother uses from time to time).

You can eat this now or later, chilled or at room temperature.  It will keep for a few days in the fridge, so it’s a terrific make-ahead dish.

I know that your plate is getting full, because you just loaded up with the fine side-dish on the table before mine,  but these peppers don’t take up much room.  So scoot them over a tad, and make space for the delicious side dish on the table after mine.  If you’d like to go around the table again, grab a clean plate and start at the top.

I’d be happy for you to pull up a chair next to me, and we could chat for a while as we enjoy our meal. ;-)

83 Comments

  1. Yum!!

  2. Roasted red peppers is one of my favorites! Can’t wait till the peppers in our garden are ready.

  3. Dubrovniklady

    I do not have much luck finding locally grown red peppers here. In a few more weeks our special very light green peppers will be harvested. My neighbor has a very large garden which they are sharing with us. Picked in the morning, same recipe and eaten for lunch.

    • You had this for lunch with your neighbor’s peppers? How wonderful! :-)

  4. That looks sumptious. Too bad I just ate.

    • Ah, well. Do you have room for dessert? I hear they’re good on ice cream! (Kidding. ;-) )

  5. I love roasted red peppers. Yum.

  6. Only favorite Italian restaurant has a wonderful salad with roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and a spicy vinaigrette, I get it every time we go! Will have to try to recreate it at home now!

    • That salad sounds delicious, and I’m sure you could recreate it easily! I am eat them on my salads, too, but with fresh mozzarella. I don’t even add dressing, because the marinated peppers are all I need. :-)

  7. Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! :)

  8. This is a great recipe! Thank you so much! :)

    • You’re welcome! I hope you have success with it. :-)

  9. looks very good….I love the peppers

  10. Looking good! I’ll be toasting a ton of these for my upcoming exams this week at school! It’s amazing how a little heat & tlc can make something far more tasty!

    • Good for you, Girl! Good luck on your exams–these are sure to supply a healthy shot of brain power for you.

  11. Reblogged this on Romancing the Bee and commented:
    What is more perfect for Italian Week than Roasted Red Peppers!! :-)

  12. I love roasted red peppers! Perfect for Italian Week!! ;-0

    • I’m quickly learning that peppers are popular! Glad you like the post, and thanks for sharing it. :-)

      • You are very welcome!! It’s a great post, and perfect for Italian Week!! :-)

        • I love your Italian week idea–and all your posts on that theme are terrific, too. You’re a clever one, Deborah! ;-)

  13. These look delicious! Bell peppers are one of my favorite vegetables.

    • Thanks, Grace! I love them in all forms–stuffed peppers are a favorite of mine, too.

  14. Gina

    i make roasted red peppers all of the time but i’ve never added herbs. thanks for the brilliant idea!

    • Adding olive oil and garlic is the Italian way! A little salt and pepper is a given, and the extra herbs just add additional color and flavor. If you’re like me (and I think you are ;-) ) you always have olive oil and garlic on hand, so you could throw this together with little fuss. Make sure you have some nice crusty bread to mop up the yumminess left in the bottom of the bowl when the peppers are gone!

  15. I love roasted red peppers, but they’re a bit of work so I always consider making them a labor of love. It is SO nice of you to share them at our potluck! :)

    • Thank you, Emmy–I’m happy to share them! I think the trick is in getting the skin off easily. If they cool long enough, either in the paper bag or steamed in a bowl, the skin comes off without much work. I’ve also cored and cut them in half before roasting, and then they’re a breeze to finish up. I let them roast while I’m cooking dinner, and it’s pretty much of a snap!

  16. TBM

    Wonderful! I love red peppers and I should try out this recipe!

  17. This sounds delicious and looks lovely in the dish. I am going to try this!

    Elisa

  18. I grew up with roasted peppers. You had a fresh idea to bring this dish to your virtual party.

    • I’m sure you did, Valentina! And thank you for the kind remark. I think I’ll bring these to my next non-virtual potluck, as well. ;-)

  19. I used to really dislike peppers but now I find I seek out recipes that use them. I love how roasting brings out the sweetness. So simple, so good.

    • It’s true–roasting does bring out the sweetness of the already sweeter-than-green red peppers. Simple and scrumptious–and good for you, too!

  20. Thanks for sharing. Looks so good!

  21. Oh I LOVE roasted red peppers and this recipe sounds divine!

    • Thank you, Sparkles! This is a tried and true “recipe”, passed down through generations of Italian grandmothers. ;-)

  22. Love the virtual vegan potluck idea! What a great way to share (meat free!) recipes :)

    • I thought so, too! I’m so happy that I was able to participate.

  23. Food Stories

    Just making my way through the virtual vegan potluck and wanted to say hello :-)

  24. I love roasted peppers! My mom used to make them, but I’ve never made them myself. I will definitely try these out :)

    • They are so simple to make, Kat, and they keep so well that you can make a fairly large batch and chow on them for days!

  25. What a wonderful addition to the potluck my friend – can never go wrong with some delicious roasted peppers :D
    Thanks!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  26. Roasted peppers are delicious! Love your recipe :)!

    • Thank you so much! We eat them raw with humus often, but they are extra-special when prepared this way.

  27. I adore your peppers – thank you for a great recipe and the beautiful photos!

    • How kind of you to say, Anne! These are so simple to make and a refreshing addition to any table. Enjoy!

  28. Great idea for a potluck! Roasted reds go with everything – for sure!

  29. YES YES, one thousand times YES!! I would not share nicely if I was seated near those peppers!

  30. Love the photos

  31. Wow. Great writing in this post! I see these ending up on a sandwich in my future, yum!

    • Thank you so much for the compliment, iatelunch; I’m blushing. ;-) Indeed, these peppers are a quick and easy way to dress up and flavor up a sandwich, salad, pasta–almost anything!

  32. Ah, you are amazing! Lovely dish (LOVE roasted peppers), perfect URL links ;-), beautiful photos! Great job. Thank you so much for joining the VVP.

    • Oh, but you are the amazing one, Ann! Your virtual vegan potluck idea is brillant, as is your ability to organize it all. You must be giddy over today’s success (and if you’re not, start getting giddy right now! ;-) ) I’m glad that my links are connecting as they should, and I am so glad that you like my contribution. It is my absolute pleasure to participte in today’s grand event. Enjoy the feast!

  33. What an interesting paper bag trick, I’ve never heard of that. I love roasted red peppers and could smell them while reading your post. My mouth is watering! I love them on a bagel, myself.

    Ooh and by the way, I’m no longer offered the chance to tick a box under the comments on your post, which I presume means I won’t get any comment emails. Good job!

    • Thank you, Lorna! RRPs are my new favorite food, and I add them to just about everything (but ice cream…and tea) these days. Glad you were able to enjoy a whiff of them way over there. ;-)
      Regarding the ever-constant flow of comments, I do hope that I turned-off the faucet on my end, at least. Thanks!

      • I do think you’ve fixed the problem, are you still getting anything from me? I switched off everything except the email box.

        • You have conquered it, Lorna! Not only is your box removed, but you have a friendly reminder (warning?) in case that sneaky checked-box happens to reappear. Well done! No comments from your site are coming my way. Thank you.

  34. Love it! I put these on/in everything!

    • Thank you, cupcakes! I’m glad to know someone who loves these as much as I do. ;-)

  35. What a lovely idea to have a virtual dinner party! And vegan too! Your dish sounds really delicious! :-)

    • It is a brilliant idea, isn’t it? I am in awe of Annie, our organizer. This is a great, easy, go-with-anything dish. It’s the little black dress of the vegetable world.

  36. One of my faves. I use pointy red peppers, but that’s because they are organic. They do work incredibly well though. (pic here http://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/simple-red-breakfast/)
    I stick them under the grill (do we have different grills?!!), and they take no time at all.
    Dressing that I use is just oil, salt and garlic. I usually make it at least once a week to add to my Partner’s salad pot that he takes to work, as it really spices it up.
    I should join in that pot-luck thing, I’ve read about it, but not really thought of what to ‘take’.

    • Loved the photo, the post, and the soup, roughseas—thank you for the link! I’ve had those pointy reds, too, but I thought they were a different part of the pepper family from the bells (maybe we should ask Peter Piper?) Our “grills” are also known as “barbeques”…does that ring a bell? (oops–sorry for the pun.) And I fully agree–olive oil, salt and garlic is all you really need. :-)

  37. Delicious! And what great photos. I’m inspired to get cooking. Now all I need is a kitchen – which I’ll need to wait a few weeks for. Ah the joys of life on the road! Thanks for the reminder of home comforts.

    • Thank you so much, Elspeth! It’s terrific to hear from you, and I do hope the tour is continuing to wow the crowds at every venue. I am delighted that I have inspired you, because if you recall, you are the one who inspired us to bake our own bread!

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