The gap between what most of us think of when we think "fall produce" and what's actually in season is pretty wide -- especially so in San Francisco, where local strawberries are STILL going strong. I made strawberry-apple jam a couple of days ago with a case of local strawberries. Granted, these were not the best strawberries I've had all year. But the notion that we have them at all?
In other words, fall produce doesn't always = pumpkins. And that's why I'm posting this recipe for peperonata: September, when the market floods with sweet bell and gypsy peppers, is probably the best time of the year to make it.
I came across this recipe while working on a recipe development project, which is always a good excuse to dip back into various cookbooks for new ideas. I also often turn back to familiar ground, like my old, trusty A16 book. I was researching meatballs for the project, and I knew we had developed a chicken meatball recipe for the book. I did find those meatballs, but I also got sidetracked with the peperonata we paired with it. While the peperonata was buried as a subrecipe, it really should have stood out alone as a separate recipe, since it also makes a versatile condiment, sandwich topping, or sauce for pasta.
It's been a long time since I've made it, but this recent batch made me remember why I liked it so much. I did lighten things up a bit (the original had a lot more olive oil -- delicious, but probably unnecessary.) The only thing that's time consuming is roasting the peppers. I used the oven (city living means no backyard grill) but if you do have a grill, it would take far less time to char & peel the peppers.
So here you go -- peperonata for early fall.
Adapted from A16 Food + Wine
Makes 4 to 5 cups
- 2 lb red and yellow bell peppers (about 5)
- 3 TB extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for roasting the peppers
- 2 TB capers, soaked and drained
- 1 cup yellow onion, sliced
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried chile flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 TB red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the peppers on the prepared sheet and coat with 1 TB olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the peppers and roast them until the peppers are charred and soft, 15-20 more minutes.
Return the peppers to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the skins, core, and seeds, and slice the peppers into strips.
In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 TB olive oil. Fry the capers briefly, then stir in the onion, fennel, chile flakes, and salt. Cook until the onions is soft, about 5 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with vinegar and concentrate and stir in the peppers. Cook for a few minutes, then taste for the seasoning, adjusting with more salt or vinegar as needed. The peppers can be served warm or at room temperature or stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.