Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Piedmontese Roast Peppers

This is so simple and so delicious. It’s dead easy and makes a great lunch with a bit of cheese, salad and good bread. Or I might serve it as a vegetable with a plain meat.
It’s a standard Italian recipe but I originally found it via Delia Smith

4 large red peppers (green are not suitable, you could use yellow)
4 medium tomatoes (skinned) I sometimes use baby tomatoes, in which case you need approx 2 for each pepper half – and I don’t skin them.
8 tinned anchovy fillets, drained
2 cloves garlic 8 dessertspoons
Italian extra virgin olive oil
To serve:
small bunch fresh basil leaves

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

Use a good, solid, shallow roasting tray, 16 x 12 inches (40 x 30 cm). The idea is that the edges of the peppers get a bit burnt (it gives a lovely nutty flavour).

Begin by cutting the peppers in half and removing the seeds but leaving the stalks intact (don't eat them but they do look attractive and they help the pepper halves to keep their shape).

Lay the pepper halves in the lightly oiled roasting tray. Now put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave them for 1 minute, then drain them and slip the skins off, using a cloth to protect your hands. Then cut the tomatoes into quarters and place two quarters in each pepper half.

After that, snip one anchovy fillet per pepper half into rough pieces and add to the tomatoes.

Peel the garlic cloves, crush them and add to the olive oil. Now spoon 1 dessertspoon of the olive oil mixture into each pepper half, season with freshly milled pepper (but no salt because of the anchovies) and place the tray on a high shelf in the oven for the peppers to roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Then transfer the cooked peppers to a serving dish, with all the precious juices poured over, and garnish with a few scattered basil leaves. These do need good bread to go with them as the juices are delicious – focaccia would be perfect


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