When you serve an appetizer, I’m always looking for a new way to serve a vegetable rather than cheese (although I must say, serving cheese is a fall-back for any dinner party if I run out of time). Here you’ll get some peppers in a balsamic vinaigrette kind of thing and they’re really delish on top of a little piece of toast. I used ciabatta bread.
Eat our vegetables! Isn’t that the mantra? As a single person now, I buy fresh veggies, and at least half the time I forget about them, or I just end up not cooking for several nights in a row and suddenly they’re over the hill. So I’ve kind of decided not to buy fresh veggies unless I truly know I’m going to prepare them that night or the next one. A week or so ago I had a package of yellow crookneck squash, a bunch of asparagus and mushrooms. I ended up cooking them all together (adding the thin asparagus in the last 4-5 minutes of cooking) with shallots, half of an onion, a bunch of dried thyme and oregano, and adding in a little pat of butter at the end. Well, I ate that for about 4 meals. Once it was cooked, it kept in the frig for over a week, and I had the last of it last night with a tiny bit of left over pork chop from over a week ago also. That was dinner, and it was wonderful. My food buying and my eating habits have changed, that’s for sure!
Anyway, since we all know we should eat more veggies, make an appetizer that contains some, if at all possible. And here, that’s exactly what works. If you don’t count the bread/toast! The peppers are broiled and Diane Phillips used a little different method here – she roasted them under the broiler, turning them to blacken the skins on all sides, then she turned the oven OFF, and let the pan just sit there for about an hour. That accomplishes the same thing as putting them in a plastic bag to soften the charred skins. The blackened skins came right off. Then you slice them thinly and marinate them in a balsamic vinaigrette and garlic. One thing to remember: don’t smash or mince the garlic. It doesn’t get cooked, so you want to slice the garlic so it can be easily removed before serving. The peppers are left out at room temp for 2-8 hours, then drain off the dressing (and keep it – it will work fine for a salad) and serve with toasted baguette slices or in my case I used ciabatta. Do use good balsamic for this – not the ancient aged stuff, but at least buy and use one that aged for 15 years. You’ll notice the difference.
What’s GOOD: the peppers have a wonderful umami taste – at least I think they do. I’m not so sure that red bells are on the “master list” of umami flavors, but with the addition of balsamic (which is an umami) you get a double-whammy of sharp, pungent flavors (good type, though). I could have made that my dinner, except for eating all of the carbs! It will keep for a few days if you don’t eat it all.
What’s NOT: nothing, really. Make only as much as you think you’ll consume. It should keep for a few days, but probably not more than that. They’ll begin to turn to mush in the vinaigrette, I think.
* Exported from MasterCook *
Roasted Red Bell Peppers in Balsamic Vinegar
Recipe By: Diane Phillips, cooking instructor and cookbook author, 2015
Serving Size: 10
4 large red bell peppers
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar — (use good quality, aged) or more if needed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves — very thinly sliced (will be removed later)
Crostini, for serving
1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the broiler.
2. Wash the peppers and remove any stickers. Place them on one flatter side on the baking sheet and broil, turning them once or twice to char them evenly on all sides. Watch carefully.
3. When they’re blackened, turn off the broiler, close oven door and allow them to rest in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The steam formed in the oven will help you to remove the skins more easily.
4. Remove the peppers from the oven and when they are cool enough to handle, remove skins (use disposable gloves if desired).
5. Remove core, seeds, then slice into strips and place in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and sliced garlic. Mix. MAKE AHEAD: can be made up to 8 hours ahead, but they need to sit for at least 2 hours to meld the flavors, covered, at room temperature.
6. Taste for seasonings. Remove garlic slivers and pour into a small serving bowl. Serve with crostini and a fork to put the slices on the bread more easily.
Per Serving: 158 Calories; 16g Fat (89.7% calories from fat); trace Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 214mg Sodium.