5 Ingredients or Fewer

Jean Anderson's Sweet Red Pepper Paste (Massa de Pimentão)

September 15, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves about 1 1/4 cups
Author Notes

Jean Anderson applies the magic of slow-roasting to a traditional Portuguese preserved red pepper sauce, in this genius recipe from her cookbook The Food of Portugal. Use it to marinate chicken or pork, sauce grilled fish and vegetables, and top pizzas and sandwiches. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 8 medium sweet red peppers, washed, cored, seeded and cut lengthwise into strips about 1" wide
  • 2 tablespoons coarse or kosher salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (about)
  1. Arrange a layer of pepper strips in the bottom of a shallow bowl no more than 9 inches in diameter; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt; now add 7 more layers of pepper strips, sprinkling each with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for at least 12 hours. Drain off excess liquid.
  2. Turn on the oven to its keep warm-setting (250º to 275º F.). Place the bowl of peppers, still uncovered, in the oven and roast 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until all juices have been absorbed, the peppers are soft, and the skin pulls away easily from the flesh. If you start to notice them drying out, cover them with foil for the remainder of the time. Remove and cool to room temperature. Now peel the skin from each pepper strip and discard. Place the garlic and the pepper strips in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, or in an electric blender cup, and add about half of the oil; buzz nonstop about 30 seconds, scrape down the sides, and buzz 30 seconds more. With the motor running, drizzle in enough of the remaining oil to make a paste slightly softer than whipped butter. Churn 60 seconds until absolutely smooth.
  3. Note: If you have neither food processor nor blender, you'll have to grind the garlic and peppers to paste as the Portuguese women do--with a mortar and pestle. You must then add the olive oil very slowly, drop by drop at first, beating hard to incorporate.
  4. Transfer to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Erin Argue
    Erin Argue
  • Leonor Yarhi
    Leonor Yarhi
  • linzarella
  • Jay
  • boulangere
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

29 Reviews

Erin A. April 12, 2020
Ok let me preface this by saying that people who don’t follow a recipe have no business leaving a review but here we are.
I made this recipe once before ‘the incident’ and it was outstanding. Used it on everything.
The next time I made it I quadrupled the batch and used the most beautiful red, orange and yellow peppers from the feria. I was going to KILL IT!
I failed to remove the salt however and made a huge batch of the saltiest muck you’ve ever tried. Ruined. Just garbage.
So I decided to make a a giant batch or mirepoix and cooked it up with butter then added the salty pepper biz, some homemade stock and cooked it down. Adjusted for flavors then puréed it all until super smooth. Added about 1.5 cups of heavy cream. Then pressed it through a food mill and made an incredible pepper bisque. No way I was abandoning that goodness, especially after having made a perfect batch before, so I rescued it and it’s glorious.
Long story boring - don’t forget to rinse off the salt and if you don’t, improvise.
susan G. June 16, 2020
I have also turned a disaster into triumph, but never to be repeated! A wonderful story, Erin A. It just shows that we love our food, right?
ErinM724 September 9, 2018
Ohhh.....this stuff is tasty!
beejay45 October 21, 2015
I used to make something almost exactly like this. Who knew it was an actual thing? One of the ways I used it was to dilute it with a little chicken stock and cream and used on pasta -- toss on a few olives and some grated Parm or Romano. Yum.
Leonor Y. September 30, 2013
Egg coddler. Sorry!
Leonor Y. September 30, 2013
I had some problem to buying the egg cobbler. ???
Leonor Y. September 29, 2013
I need this kind of jar? Do you have it?
Kristen M. September 30, 2013
Not currently -- but we may stock them again down the line! Here's a similar style on lovely Herriott Grace: http://shop.herriottgrace.com/product/glass-egg-coddler
Shayna99 January 24, 2015
Any word on these jars? :)
Kristen M. January 26, 2015
Here you go! https://food52.com/provisions/products/1133-egg-coddler
Agnes October 11, 2011
In my experience, putting olive oil in the blender or food processor makes it bitter. Have people not found this to be a problem?
linzarella September 21, 2011
Wow, this is truly a life-changing technique. Just had it on a butternut squash and broccolini salad with hard boiled eggs. Amazing.
Nywoman September 18, 2011
Tried the recipe and could not get the peels off the peppers despite being in the oven for 3 hours. Threw them in the blender with garlic and oil and then passed through sieve.
Consistency is lovely, and swirling it into chilled green pea soup tonight.

My favorite way of peeling peppers is to quarter them, flatten out on a cookie sheet, cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes in 400 oven. Works like ac charm every time.
Jay September 18, 2011
made a similar past recently using roasted serrano chiles and red onions and adding some vinegar along with the oil. Looked just like the picture above, but had a bit more kick. Roasted pastes are a great way to use summer's bounty.
boulangere September 16, 2011
You're teasing us with that egg cup again.
Nadia H. September 16, 2011
@ NYLatina PR: I would not recommend canning it, as it lacks acidity and then spores can develop. I make something similar when I have an abundance of red bell peppers from the garden (removing the skins from the peppers the described way is a genius trick I did not know about, will certainly try that soon). I put mine in a sterilized jar and pour some EVOO on top to seal. It keeps a couple of weeks in the fridge. The alternative is freezing it. - @ drbabs: I agree with Kristen, adding the garlic to the peppers during roasting makes it more mellow, which I prefer too.
mcs3000 September 16, 2011
must try soon. afraid to look @ her cookbook - know i'll want it.
NYLatinaPR September 15, 2011
I wonder how long it keeps in the fridge. Or...if I knew how to jar/can I could do that!
boulangere September 16, 2011
I'm wondering how long it will keep in the fridge, also. I'm guessing 5-7 days. Does it freeze well?
creamtea September 18, 2011
I think up to a week; you can also cut the recipe to 4 or 6 peppers and reduce the other ingredients accordingly to make a smaller amount.
Valhalla September 15, 2011
So the roasting process does not make them crispy, it facilitates the peeling part? I'm trying to distinguish how this is different from broiling peppers or oven-drying them so I get the consistency right.
creamtea September 15, 2011
They oven dry and roast very gently for a wonderful sweet mild flavor, without the bitter components of broiled peppers. They get dryer but are still a little moist.
creamtea September 15, 2011
creamtea September 15, 2011
(I have the cookbook and can honestly say life would not be the same without this wonderful recipe!)
drbabs September 15, 2011
yum...would it be a bad thing to roast the garlic at the same time as the peppers?
Kristen M. September 15, 2011
No way would that be a bad thing -- just different! More mellow, less feisty and fire breath-y.
drbabs September 16, 2011
And probably less stomach-upsetting. (I have a love-hate relationship with garlic. I love it. It hates me.)
boulangere September 16, 2011
I'm thinking RG, too, drb.
drbabs September 16, 2011
are we showing our age?