Years ago, my friend lived in an amazing apartment in a big old Victorian house in a small town in South Jersey. The first floor of the house was a dentist’s office and his apartment took up the entire second and third floor. Because the office downstairs closed around 5pm every night and on weekends, we never had to worry about parking or how loud the music was. Quite often, we would walk a few blocks to the main street in town and sit at the bar of a shady Italian restaurant. There was nothing particularly charming about the restaurant except for it’s location but they served perfect bread and peppers. I’d never in my life eaten bread and peppers together before (mostly because I rarely ever ate peppers at this time) but these peppers, roasted and oily, served with soft doughy baguette, was the perfect bite for us every single time. The restaurant is no longer there and my friend has long since moved out but we still talk about those bread and peppers. When I saw this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pepperonata, I knew it wouldn’t be a perfect alternative but it was pretty darn close.
A combination of peppers (I used mini peppers, poblano and long hots) are slowly cooked with shallots until soft and tender. A little sugar, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme are added to give a flavor boost. These peppers aren’t nearly as oily as the peppers from that restaurant but that’s not a bad thing. I served these peppers with some toasted whole grain bread and drizzled a little bit of olive oil over the top (perfection!). But these peppers, with their mild sweetness and heat, would be a perfect accompaniment to chicken or pasta or on a salad, especially if you are trying to eat more vegetables. Plus, just look at those colors! If you want to eat colorfully, you can’t get much more color than this.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add salt, peppers, and shallots; cook 3 minutes or until shallots begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, 20 minutes or until peppers are tender.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add vinegar, sugar, and thyme; cook 15 minutes or until peppers are tender and shallots are golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Cooking Light magazine