3 nice things
are even nicer.
We made these last Sunday as part of the antipasti for a the happy, abundant and joy-full lunch in the garden, I think the companionship around the table made them taste even nicer.
I have written about my peculiar relationship with peppers before and nothing has changed really. I still loathe green ones, raw ones of any hue – as my wise and stalwart grandma used to say – just don’t agree with me and I am really funny and fussy about how they are cooked.
I do however (red please, yellow if pushed) like them blistered and blackened in the oven, even better, charred over a wood fire, peeled and them left to wallow in their sticky juices and some olive oil. I am happy to eat them just so, but even more so draped with some salty anchovies, dotted with few dark, salty olives and some bread to sop it all up. I then like the leftovers even more, maybe with some creamy goats cheese and a couple of anhovies squashed between 2 slices of white bread in a doorstop sandwich.
Antipasti, now there is a word I like, it conjures up all sorts of delicious thoughts of tasty morsels which tickle and excite the appetite before the main course arrives. The Italians are masters, a few slices of Prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele, maybe with some figs, a thick slice of salami and a few black olives like the ones from Castellamare, or maybe some young broad beans with salty Pecorino Romano, a spoonful of caponata with warm bread, some white beans spiked with mild onion and loads of nice olive oil, a wedge of nicely made frittata , a few crostini with tapenade or simply a bunch of radishes with butter and salt……
or some of these peppers.
and bread, always bread.
I roasted some more peppers yesterday and had a little nap while they blackened and softened in the oven. My nap drifted into a sleep and anxiety dreams about something I really need to do, being ticked off by the person I need to do it for and burning peppers. I woke up relieved it was just a dream and astounded about how real the scent of burning peppers had been in my dream..
then I remembered there really were peppers in the oven..
they were well, quite black and rather soft…
But 4 seemed worth saving. I burned my sleepy hands while slipping the hot, charred little buggers into a bowl and covering it with clingfilm to create a steamy space which would then make peeling easy. After 10 minute of steaming and thinking I should steam my face while I was at it, peeling was satisfyingly easy. I tore each pepper into pieces which looked manageable, arranged them in a dish, strained over some of the sticky juices at the bottom of the steaming bowl, sloshed over some extra virgin olive oil.
These peppers are delicious with fresh basil and garlic instead of olives and anchovies.
Roasted red peppers with anchovies and olives.
- 5 large red or yellow peppers
- a handful of small black olives
- 12 anchovy fillets (best quality preserved under oil)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- salt (only a little as the anchovies are salty enough)
Heat the oven to 180°/350°f
Line a baking tray with foil put the peppers in the tin and roast for about an hour, turn every now and then until the are soft, blistered, charred and floppy.
Once the peppers are done tip them into a bowl and cover tightly with clingfilm. Leave the hot peppers to steam away under the clingfilm for 10 minutes which makes them beautifully simple to peel. You can also put them in a plastic bag to steam them.
Now the skins should be easy to peel away, discard the seeds, stalk and any membrane.
Cut or tear each pepper into thick strips and arrange in a shallow dish.
Stain (to avoid seeds) a little of the pepper juices from the steaming bowl over the strips. A sprinkle of salt and glug over some olive oil. Criss – cross the peppers with the anchovy fillets and dot with olives.
Allow the peppers to sit for at least an hour a room temperature before serving.