Italian Marinated Roasted Red Bell Peppers
The following recipe is based on the technique described in Classic Italian Jewish Cooking by Edda Servi Machlin. My use of balsamic vinegar gives the peppers a sweet taste. Jewish cooks have been preparing peppers this way for centuries.
- Preheat the oven to 550°F.
- Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast them for 15 minutes or until the peel is blackened in spots.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with water and 8 ice cubes.
- When the peppers are done, immediately plunge them into the bowl of ice water.
- When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them under water. Remove the stem and seeds and any interior membrane.
- Cut the peppers lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips. You may wish to cut the strips in half crosswise if the peppers are very long.
- Bring the vinegar and salt to a boil in a stainless steel or enameled pan. Add the sliced peppers and cook for 3 minutes, stirring with a soft spoon or spatula.
- Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Drain the peppers. Stir in the garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the mixture in a 1-quart wide-mouthed glass jar. Pour olive oil over the peppers to cover. Bang the uncovered jar on the counter to force any air bubbles to the surface--this will prevent mold from forming on the peppers.
- Close the lid tightly on the jar and refrigerate. The peppers may be eaten soon after, but for the best flavor wait 24 hours. Serve and enjoy.
- Roasting peppers in a hot oven causes the peppers to blister but the "meat" of the vegetable does not burn. You'll preserve the flesh of your peppers far better this way than roasting them on a grill.
- By far the easiest way to peel peppers is immediately after water submersion.
- Any time you are boiling vinegar and salt, it must be in a non-reactive pan. Stainless steel, glass, or enamel are all okay. Copper, brass, and aluminum will react with the liquid and ruin your recipe.
- Balsamic vinegar will turn the peppers a dark mahogany color. If you want them to look more natural, use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar instead.