Bell of the Barbecue
Roasted red bell peppers marinated in spicy vinaigrette are a sweet accompaniment to breakfast, lunch or dinner, and now is the best time to take advantage of the local crop.
I look forward to wandering from stall to stall at farmers' markets, gathering colorful vegetables to incorporate into recipes and put on my table.
Fresh corn and locally grown tomatoes are the joys of July and August. But the real bounty comes in September, when there are great buys on bushels of veggies to be had for a song.
One of my favorites has always been red bell peppers. They seem to have a milder yet deeper flavor than their green siblings. Not only are red peppers delicious, they are also rich in antioxidant vitamins A and C as well as in folic acid. And to top it all off, they are one of the few vegetables to contain lycopene, a powerhouse anti-cancer agent.
Red peppers are delicious just the way they are, chopped up and added to salads, sautéd with onions and zucchini, or puréed into a dip with chickpeas.
But my favorite preparation involves roasting the peppers on the outdoor grill and then marinating them in spicy vinaigrette. Prepared this way, the vegetables keep for a week or more in the refrigerator, but trust me, they won't last that long. Serve them in the morning with scrambled eggs, for lunch as a complement to a sandwich or at dinner as a tasty side.
Red peppers may be available year-round thanks to global sourcing, but now is the time to take advantage of the local crop and earn your stripes as a frugal gourmet.
|Roasted Red Bell Peppers |
Keep turning the peppers until they are charred on all sides. Cut a slit into the side of each pepper, place them into a paper bag and seal the bag so that the peppers steam for 10 minutes, at which point they should be cool enough to handle. Rub off the outer skin and remove the stem and seeds.
Place the pepper pieces into the bowl with the dressing to marinate. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. They just keep on getting better.
Note: If you end up with a bushel of peppers, it's easy to multiply this recipe. The dressing is made with equal parts oil and vinegar, and the garlic and spices are really just to taste.
|Sourdough French Bread|