Mark Bittman prepares peppers 3 ways

Looking for an alternative to raw bell peppers? Bring out their sweetness and meaty texture by roasting and sautéing the colorful vegetable. Here, Bittman makes Spanish sofrito, roasted pepper bisque and sautéed peppers with vinegar.

Salsa sofrito
Servings:

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

    • 2 large bell peppers, any color
    • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
    • 2 large onions, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 pounds tomatoes (about 3 or 4 medium-sized tomatoes), chopped
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F or turn on the broiler and put the rack about 4-inches from the heat source. Put the peppers in a foil-lined roasting pan. Roast or broil, turning the peppers as each side browns, until they have darkened and collapsed, 15 to 20 minutes in the broiler, or up to an hour in the oven. (To grill, heat a charcoal or gas grill to moderately high heat and put the rack about 4-inches form the heat source. When the fire is hot, put the peppers directly over the heat and grill, turning as each side blackens, until they collapse, about 15 minutes.)2. Wrap the cooked peppers in foil and cool until you can handle them, then remove the skin, seeds and stems. (You can do this under running water, if you like.) Chop the peppers. 3. Put the oil in a medium saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the peppers, onions and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and plenty of black pepper. 4. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and comes together, about 20 minutes. If the salsa gets too thick, thin it with a bit of water.5. Stir in the oregano and red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Bell pepper bisque
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 3 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    • 5 roasted bell peppers, cored and chopped (see above recipe for how to roast)
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    • Cream to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Put the chicken or vegetable stock in a large pot over medium heat; bring to a boil.2. Add the peppers, paprika, minced garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until peppers are very tender and flavors have melded,  10 to 15 minutes.3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Whisk in as much cream as you like before serving.

Sautéed bell peppers with vinegar
Servings:

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more
    • 2 large bell peppers, any color
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    • Sherry vinegar to taste
    • 4 anchovies, optional
    • 1 tablespoon capers, optional

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Cut the peppers in half, break out the core and scrape out the seeds; discard the core and stem. Rinse to remove remaining seeds; pat dry with paper towel. Slice peppers into strips. 2. Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the peppers. Cook, shaking the pan, until the pepper slices just begin to change color on the bottom, less than 5 minutes; use a wooden spoon or spatula to turn the pepper slices over and repeat. 3. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with sherry vinegar to taste. If you like, garnish with anchovies and/or capers.

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