These roasted, marinated peppers are inspired by the kind of thing my grandmother, who was from Trieste in northern Italy, used to make—make-ahead dishes that actually get better the longer they sit and marinate. The dish is so versatile: It’s great on toast, it’s great as part of an antipasto situation. At my restaurants, Hart’s and Cervo’s. it’s the kind of thing we would serve over ricotta. It’s also delicious as a condiment with roasted meat or fish. You could toss it with oiled yukon gold potatoes and a few slices of anchovy, too. Hot, cold, on a sandwich...it's up to you! —Nick Perkins
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is featured in the story, The Italian-Style Marinated Vegetables You'll Want to Eat on Everything, sponsored by Lagostina. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- Makes 7 to 8 cups
red peppers (pimenton, red bell, or carmen)
For serving: ricotta and crusty bread (optional)
sea salt, to taste
plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
fresh whole chiles (any red, sweet variety such as chile de árbol)
cipollini onions, peeled, root-end removed, and quartered
salt-packed capers, rinsed
small bay leaves
whole fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons
Leaves of 1 sprig fresh oregano
large leaves fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 450º F.
- Take the red peppers and cut them in half. Remove the seeds and stem by pulling them out with your hands, and then slice them into good-size strips, about thumb-wide.
- In a large bowl, toss the pepper strips with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and a little bit of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons). Spread them on a baking sheet and stick into the oven. Check them every 8 minutes or so, moving them around when you check, until they get crispy edges and start to color. They should be a little bit charred but still have their shape. After about 20 to 25 minutes, pull them out and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the rest of the sauce: Smash garlic cloves and add to a large rondeau or shallow, very wide pan with lots of olive oil (about 1/2 cup). Sizzle over medium-high heat until they get just a little bit of color, about 5 minutes.
- Toss in a few very hot chiles (smashed if you want; I use them whole, seeds and all), plus the onions, capers, bay leaves, fennel seeds, and few pinches of sea salt. Sizzle, stirring frequently so nothing gets brown, until everything starts to get soft and the onions are translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are bursting and giving off a little bit of juice, about 5 minutes.
- Splash the pan with the white wine, then add the oil-cured olives.
- Cook down for about 10 minutes until everything is juicy and oily. Then take the peppers and dump them in. Tear the herbs with your hands and toss those in too. Mix them around until it’s all coated with the herby tomato juice.
- After the mixture sits for about an hour, taste and see if you need to add more salt. Let it sit for…as long as you have. You can serve it that night or a few days later. It will be better the next day, without question, so make it ahead if you can.