This is a departure from the traditional sauteing approach using oil. Patricia Wells gives a recipe in her book Trattoria that she credits to the owner of Al Forno, in which the unpeeled peppers are sauteed in red wine vinegar. I wanted to incorporate two flavors I love with red peppers, orange and sherry vinegar, and came up with the following recipe. Peeling the peppers makes them infinitely more silky and sublime then the original version, with no trace of bitterness. - Amber Olson —Amber Olson
Test Kitchen Notes
These are just fantastic. I like the technique of peeling the peppers, which worked like a charm. While I like roasted peppers, I don't make them often because, lets face it, it is a hassle. I have a ceramic peeler and it did the job lickity-split. I cut the peppers thin by accident and next time I make them I would cut them thick like the recipe asks. Beyond technique, these peppers become delectable, sweet, sour and tender by the slow simmering in the tasty broth of orange juice and sherry vinegar that becomes beautifully thick and syrupy -- just perfect for the dressing it becomes later. The rosemary is the capping touch along with all the optional spice additions. - thirschfeld —The Editors
blocky red bell peppers, about 6-8 ounces each
fresh squeezed orange juice
sherry wine vinegar
EVOO (I used a Spanish one)
Fresh rosemary needles
Toasted crushed fennel seeds, coriander seeds and whole white peppercorns (optional)
Wash and dry the peppers. Trim off a bit of the top and bottom of each so they are sort of "square." Save those bits to use raw in salads if you like. Cut the peppers lengthwise along the creases into quarters. Remove the seeds and pithy white core. With a swivel-blade vegie peeler, remove the skin with a gentle sawing motion. This takes a bit of practice, but once you find the motion, it flows smoothly.
Combine the orange juice, 2 TB. sherry vinegar and salt in a measuring cup and stir until salt dissolves.
In a 12'" skillet with a lid, put in all the peppers (they won't fit in a single layer), add the o.j. mixture, then gently toss with tongs to coat the pieces. Cover and place over low heat. After 10 minutes, check to be sure peppers are gently simmering, move them around in the pan, and adjust the heat accordingly. This is about low and slow, so don't rush the process. After a total of 30 minutes, uncover the skillet. The peppers should be nicely softened. Raise the heat a bit and reduce the juices so they are thickened but not syrupy. Remove the peppers to a platter.
Put the skillet back over medium heat and add the remaining 2 TB. sherry vinegar. Deglaze and scrape up any pepper bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 1/8 cup of the oil ( or a bit more if you want) and warm through briefly. Spoon the liquid over the peppers and toss gently.
Finely mince some fresh rosemary needles(to your taste) and scatter over the peppers. Toss again. Let sit at room temperature, giving the peppers time to absorb the delicious sauce.
Optional: I love fennel, coriander and white pepper crushed together as a spice mix and highly recommend adding some to your peppers. Sometimes I just use that and omit the rosemary.Toasted crushed cumin seed are also delicious. If you want to heighten the orange flavor notes, then by all means add the orange zest!