Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer treats, continued: Bell Peppers

Like most cooks these days, I rarely pick up a green bell pepper, preferring instead the other colors. My favorite, at least to eat raw, is the orange pepper. But there's one dish in my repertoire where only a tangy green pepper will do: gumbo.
I'm about to make a batch of gumbo -- with shrimp, crabmeat, chicken and andouille sausage -- and will post that recipe soon. But today there's an article in the Food/Dining section of the New York Times extolling the virtues of the green pepper.
Here is one of the recipes accompanying the story. It's a Basque dish that the author says can be used as a side, a main (perhaps with the addition of some meat) or a condiment.
Peppers and tomatoes: Piperade



RECIPE: Piperade
Makes about 3 cups


Ingredients:
  • 3 plum tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped, about 2 cups
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, stem, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or substitute hot paprika) 
NOTE: You also can mix red/yellow/orange peppers with the green, which makes a colorful presentation

Instructions:
1.
Cut a small X into bottom of each tomato. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add tomatoes and cook until skin begins to wrinkle and peel at the edges of the cuts, about 30 seconds. Drain, rinse with cool water and peel off skin with your fingers. Roughly chop tomatoes and set aside.
2.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add onions, peppers and salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and peppers have started to lighten in spots, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 1 more minute.
3.
Stir in tomatoes, sugar and piment d’Espelette, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until tomatoes are starting to fall apart and peppers are soft but still hold their shape, about 15 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens like a slightly runny relish, about 5 minutes more. Adjust salt.


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