Both sweet and hot pepers can trace their origins to Mexico. Christopher Columbus brought them back to Spain in 1493, where they spread throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Today, they represent a culinary rainbow, with varieties sporting shades of green, red, yellow, orange and more rarely, white, rainbow (between stages of ripening), purple and brown. They are a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Folate, Magnesium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamins A, B6, C, K and Manganese. For a new taste, try one of these recipes!
Pepper Recipes in this Section:
> Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
> Cubanelle Pepper Salad with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
3 red bell peppers (about 1 pound)
One 6-inch pita bread (2 ounces)
1 cup water
1 small garlic clove
4 ounces walnut pieces (about 3/4 cup), toasted, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus more for garnish (optional)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Roast peppers over a gas burner until blackened all over, turning with tongs as each side is blistered. (Alternatively, place under a broiler.) Transfer to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap; let stand about 15 minutes. Peel, and discard skins, stems, and seeds. Set peppers aside.
Toast pita bread until crisp and golden. Break into 2-inch pieces; place in a bowl, and cover with the water. Soak until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a sieve, and drain well, pressing out excess water. Set aside.
Combine garlic and walnut pieces in the bowl of a food processor; process until fine crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Add paprika, cumin, and reserved peppers and pita bread; process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add vinegar, lemon juice, oil, and salt, and season with black pepper. Pulse until combined.
Transfer to a serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Before serving, bring to room temperature. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with walnuts or paprika, as desired.
Cubanelle Pepper Salad with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons minced Vidalia onion
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb arugula
5 Cubanelle peppers, seeded and sliced into rings
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, onion and honey and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. While whisking, slowly add olive oil until vinaigrette thickens. In a serving bowl, toss vinaigrette with arugula, peppers and oregano.
Easy Pickled Peppers
½ pound jalapeños (choose larger jalapeños for less spicy pickles)
1 red bell pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons honey or sugar of choice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon salt
First, prepare your peppers: Wear gloves to prevent your fingers from feeling burned. For less spicy pickles, use a paring knife to remove the jalapeño membranes and seeds before slicing. Slice the pickles thin with a mandoline or chef's knife. If you're still concerned about the spice level of the pickles, run the sliced jalapeños under running water in a colander to try to knock off any remaining seeds. Slice off the top of the bell pepper and remove the seeds and membranes. Chop the bell pepper.
Combine the prepared peppers and smashed garlic in a 28-ounce (1.75 pints) or larger glass jar. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey and salt. Bring the mixture close to a boil on the stove, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sweetener into the liquid. Remove from heat and carefully pour the liquid over the peppers. Use a butter knife to pock down the peppers so they all fit and there aren't any hidden air pockets.
Let the pickles cool to room temperature in the jar, then screw on a lid and refrigerate the pickles. Depending on how thinly you sliced the peppers, they could be ready to eat immediately or might need a couple of days in the refrigerator before they taste fully pickled.