So, summertime is here. Sometimes, I hate cooking when the heat is intense and the humidity builds. On those evenings, it's always good to have an easy out. In our case, this week's first real hot spell inspired me to make a batch of peperonata to have with semolina toasts. An easy salad of greens from the garden added enough bulk to the evening meal to make us happy.
I like peperonata because you can roast the peppers at night, leave them under a bowl over night, peel the skins in the cool of the morning and finish the dish before the sun and heat gets the house uncomfortable. The dish sits in a cool spot during the day and then, you reheat it just before you are ready to eat dinner. Put a substantial cold salad on the table with some good bread, red wine, and some olives and it will feel like you are at a banquet!
Peperonata for Two
3 large sweet peppers – red, yellow, and orange
Olive oil for drizzling (about 3 tbsp.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ medium sweet white onion, small dice
2 tbsp. capers, drained and soaked for a few minutes, drained and dried on paper towels
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 generous pinches red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
¼ c. fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Artisan or semolina bread toasts
Olive oil for drizzling
Making the Peperonata:
- Halve and remove the veins and seeds from the peppers. Place them, skin side up on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Set broiler on low and place the oven rack about ten inches below the flame. Broil the peppers until the skins are blistered and blackened.
- Remove and place the peppers on a plate and cover with large bowl. Leave them for several minutes.
- When you can handle the peppers, peel the skins from the peppers and chop them right there on the plate into small dice. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile in a large fry pan, drizzle a bit of olive oil and bring the heat up to medium. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Then, add the onion and continue cooking until the onion softens and begins to become golden.
- Add the capers and continue cooking for 2 minutes, tossing everything around frequently.
- Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes and black pepper and mash the paste into the onions and garlic, distributing everything well. Cook for about five minutes on a lower heat.
- Deglaze the pan with ¼ c. dry white wine, stirring up any crunchy or brown bits.
- Add the peppers, and red wine vinegar.
- Taste and add a bit of Kosher salt, to taste. Correct the red wine vinegar too, adding more if you feel it needs a bit more tanginess. Toss the fresh parsley into the mix.
- Heat the peppers through and then place the peperonata in a pretty bowl, drizzle a bit of olive oil over all, toast the bread and pour a good wine.