A peck of roasted peppers

October 04, 1998|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

When roasted, red bell peppers seem almost like another vegetable, their clean, sweet taste developing earthy overtones, their crunchy flesh turning velvety, and their dazzling color deepening to brick-red.

A peck basket (a quarter bushel) holds about 16 to 20 big "bells" - enough for a roasted pepper salad, sandwiches, pasta sauce, side dishes and more.

Choose from three roasting methods: To keep the kitchen cool in fTC hot weather, char the peppers over an outdoor grill. Temperature control is easiest with a gas range, and if you're careful, you can keep two burners going at once. When you're preparing a large number of peppers, oven-roasting is the most convenient method.

The flavor of the colorful Roasted Pepper Salad is best when served at room temperature.

The Red Bell Pepper Butter doubles as garnish and saucy topping for chicken, fish or baked potatoes. Make a double or triple batch and spoon it into small lidded containers, then cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Cole Publishing Group

Red Bell Pepper Butter

Makes about 1 cup

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce (optional)

Saute shallot in 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until soft (about 2 minutes). In blender or food processor, puree shallot with remaining butter, roasted bell peppers, lemon juice and hot-pepper sauce, if used.

Roasted Pepper Salad

Serves 6 to 8

8 roasted bell peppers (all red or a mixture of colors)

2/3 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons each: finely chopped fresh parsley and basil

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Slice peppers into 1-inch strips, reserving juices and discarding any seeds. Place in glass or ceramic bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together reserved pepper juices with remaining ingredients. Pour over peppers. Marinate in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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