Saturday, February 19, 2011

Red Pepper Puree

This post is my homage to The Minimalist, Mark Bittman, who recently announced his retirement (or at least the end of his regular weekly column in the Dining In section of The New York Times). 

This red pepper puree appeared in his first column back in September, 1997.  This struck me as the ideal choice for paying tribute because it doesn't get much simpler than peppers, oil and salt. And while the technique for roasting the peppers is incredibly easy, the results are so just might want to keep a bottle of this in your fridge from now on, next to the ketchup and mustard.
Yield: 2 cups

4 large red bell peppers, about 2 pounds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1.      Preheat oven to 475º F. Line a roasting pan with enough foil to fold over the top later. Place the peppers in the pan, and roast, turning the peppers about every 10 minutes. Roast until the peppers collapse, about 40 minutes.
2.      Remove from the oven, fold the foil over the peppers and allow them to cool.
3.      Working over a bowl to catch the peppers' liquid, remove and discard the core, skin and seeds.
4.      Place the pepper pulp in a food processor with about 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, and turn on the machine; drizzle the oil in through the feed tube. Stop the machine, taste and add additional salt or olive oil, if necessary. Store, well covered, in the refrigerator for several days, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Serving Suggestions:
-  Add a couple of tablespoons to the liquid of any simmering grain: rice, couscous, quinoa. The color is glorious.
-  Beat in lemon juice, salt and pepper to make a beautiful salad dressing.
-  Spread on crostini, bruschetta or pizza before baking.
-  Use as a finishing sauce for roasted eggplant, zucchini or other vegetables.
-  Serve as an embellishment for grilled or roasted fish, meat or chicken.
-  Stir into soups or stews just before serving.
-  Mash a couple of tablespoons of puree with a little olive oil, minced garlic and cracked black pepper into fresh, salty cheese -- feta or goat, for example -- to make a dip for bread or vegetables.

Published: September 17, 1997 by Mark Bittman (The Minimalist)

peppers before roasting
10 minutes later
20 minutes later
30 minutes later
40 minutes later
tucked in so they can steam
the skin pulls off easily
about to be pureed
drizzling in the oil
I served this in corn soup (mostly because I thought
the bright yellow would look good with the beautiful red)
I could give you the corn soup recipe, but honestly, it was
just okay (although the red pepper puree did elevate it)

Not my best work (the hole in my squeeze bottle needs to be a little bigger).

Plus it isn't Halloween...what's up with the spider web?

This post is dedicated to my friend Glenn Burney. When Glenn found out Mark Bittman had written his last The Minimalist column, he sent me an email to let me know. It said simply: OHHHHHH NOOOOOO!!!!!! with a link to an article entitled The Minimalist Makes His Exit.  Sorry Glenn!

1 comment:

Red Pepper Puree said...

I like the name of your blog!
I think I'm going to cook this soon!

Post a Comment