Since September, it’s been just plain busy around here: back to Paris, back to work, back to Sunday morning market (and all the colorful autumn veggies), back to self-imposed projects (like learning to print digital photographs – not as easy as I thought it would be – hanging new curtains and re-organizing our office space)… The list goes on… Cooking’s definitely been in there too, but writing about it has been put on a back burner. Thanks to readers asking me where I’ve been, here I am: back with some fun recipes I’ve been working on.
Over the summer, we did lots of barbequing down in Bordeaux. My favorite vegetable to sear became the bell pepper. It reminded me of autumn in Santa Fe, when the aroma of roasting Hatch green chiles takes over the city. While bell peppers aren’t quite the same, the familiar smell of blackening pepper skin took me right back to my childhood home.
This recipe for bell pepper tapenade was a winner and the appetizer disappeared all too quickly. In Paris, we obviously can’t barbeque (though Sébastien and I amuse ourselves by imagining us trying: one holding a make-shift barbeque out our apartment window, the other trying not the drop flaming food on passersby, and the upstairs neighbors inhaling our smoke). Instead, I’ve been roasting peppers in the oven. You don’t get the same flavors (that of grape vines in place of charcoal on the barbeque is unmatchable), but it definitely works. I place halved or quartered peppers on parchment paper, place them at the top of the oven and bake them at about 220º C (430º F) until blackened (rotating when necessary). Then, I place them on a plate, cover it with plastic wrap and let the peppers “sweat” for about 10 minutes (this is key to making peeling easier).
3 large bell peppers
3 cloves minced garlic
1. Depending on their size, cut each pepper into 4 or 6 pieces and remove the stem and seeds.
2. Roast over the barbeque or in the oven (see above) until the skin is blackened.
3. Set on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside 10 minutes.
4. Using a paring knife (and your fingers!) peel the peppers.
5. Dice into small pieces and combine with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
6. Let cool in the fridge if desired (or eat warm) and serve with flat crisp breads or a baguette.
I especially like this tapenade over sliced baguette and fresh goat’s cheese.