Did you know that given enough time on the vine any green bell pepper
will ripen into a red bell pepper? Yes, itís summer time and farm stands
(and produce sections) across the country are loaded down with fresh
picked sweet (not to be confused with hot) peppers just waiting for you to
load up and chow down
Bell peppers are sweet peppers and are actually available in yellow, red,
orange, purple, black and even a "chocolate" colored varieties. You should
be looking for firm and brightly colored peppers that donít have soft
spots or have a slightly wrinkled look. You can
serve bell peppers raw with dips or cut up into salads. They can also be
chopped into soups, chili, tomato sauces, omelets, potato dishes, or
The simplest way to prepare the peppers is to cut them in half lengthwise
and remove the seeds and membranes. Place them cut side down on a
foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 oven or on a covered grill for about
20 minutes or until the skins are blistered and brown. Wrap the peppers in
foil or place in a plastic or paper bag and let them stand for 30 minutes
to steam and they should peel easily.
As for why the colored bell peppers always cost more than the green, even
though they're from the same plant the simple answer is that it takes 30
to 45 extra days on the plant for a green pepper to turn red, and time is
money! Colored peppers are also more fragile than the green peppers This
fragility translates into more lost to spoilage during shipping and the
need to handle them with care.
SWEET RED PEPPER CORN MUFFINS (dairy or pareve)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk or non dairy substitute
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup finely shopped sweet red peppers
Preheat oven to 425. In large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar,
baking powder, salt and pepper. In small bowl, beat together buttermilk,
oil and egg, stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in red
pepper. Spoon batter into well greased or paper lined muffin cups, filling
each two thirds full. Bake in degree oven for 15 minutes or until tester
inserted in center comes out clean. Or bake in 8 inch square baking pan
for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and cut into squares to serve.
Makes 12 muffins.
ROASTED RED PEPPERS (pareve)
A sweet pepper dish that is great with any type of fresh bread. Youíll
want to double the recipe because itís going to disappear.
4 red peppers
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Quarter and clean pith from red peppers. Spray skin side with olive oil
mist. Roast peppers under broiler 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally
until skins are black. Put peppers in a paper bag until cool. Peel skins,
(do not wash peppers) and put them in a bowl. Add smashed garlic clove,
oil and vinegar and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and
let marinate at room temperature for 2 hours. Serves 2 to 4.
LEMON CHICKEN WITH RED PEPPERS AND SNOW PEAS (meat)
This is a very light and fresh tasting summer dinner.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil for sautť
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red peppers (, or a combo of red, orange and
1 1/2 cups snow peas
1 small onion, cut into thin lengths
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon oil
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon lemon, rind of, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped parsley or cilantro
In a large skillet heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat and sautť
peppers, peas and onions until just tender/crisp. (About 3 minutes) Remove
the vegetables and place them on the bottom of serving dish. Cut chicken
into thick strips and dust them with flour and salt. Add 3 teaspoons of
oil into skillet and cook chicken until done, (6 to 8 minutes). Meanwhile
in a saucepan combine stock, lemon juice, sugar, oil, cornstarch, sesame
oil, zest and garlic-cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes or until
thickened. Place the chicken on top of the pepper and snow pea mixture.
Pour a little sauce over the top of the chicken. Pour the rest of the
sauce into a serving bowl and serve it with the chicken. This is great
with rice and egg rolls Serves 3 to 4.
SALMON BUNDLES WITH ROASTED RED PEPPERS (fish)
1 cup roasted red peppers (make your own or store bought)
12 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
6 tablespoons butter, melted or nonstick cooking spray
6 (5 ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed (1 inch thick)
Preheat oven to 400. Puree the red peppers in a blender or food
processor. Layer 2 sheets phyllo on work
surface, brushing each with butter or spray with nonstick spray; leave
remaining sheets of phyllo covered with plastic. Place 1 fillet crosswise
on the pastry, 5 inches from the narrow end. Top with 1 tablespoon puree.
Fold the 5 inch section of pastry over the salmon and fold in the sides.
Roll the pastry into a rectangular packet to enclose the salmon. Brush
with butter on all sides or spray with nonstick spray. Repeat with the
remaining pastry and salmon. Place packets on baking sheet and bake for
30-35 minutes until the salmon is cooked through and the pastry is light
golden brown. Top with the remaining pepper puree. Serves 6.
ALMOND AND SWEET RED
PEPPER RELISH (pareve)
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup almonds, chopped coarse
3/4 cup tomatoes diced
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
lemon or lime juice to taste
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the peppers, onions and garlic.
Saute until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the almonds, tomatoes, red
wine vinegar, basil, salt, pepper and lemon or lime juice to tastes. .
Remove immediately after all the ingredients have been combines and serve.
SWEET RED PEPPER RICE (pareve)
Red bell peppers, red pepper flakes, and paprika add a kick to this side
dish. This is perfect with a simple roast chicken.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large red bell peppers, finely diced
1 cup rice
2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons orange juice
In large saucepan, heat oil over low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring
frequently, until onion has softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, paprika
and red pepper flakes, and stir to coat. Stir in bell peppers and cook,
stirring frequently, until peppers have softened, about 5 minutes. Add in
the rice and stir to coat. Add water, orange zest and salt. Bring the
mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is
tender and creamy, about 17 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and cook until
well combines, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in orange juice and
serve. Serves 4 to 6.
SWEET POTATO AND RED PEPPER GRATIN (dairy)
4 to 6 large sweet potatoes
4 to 6 large sweet red peppers
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (or good Swiss Cheese)
1 quart heavy cream (or less as you desire)
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, optional
(2) sweet red pepper rings for garnish, optional
Roast red peppers over open flame, under broiler, or over grill until
skin is charred black. Remove and place in ziploc bag to rest for
approximately 20 minutes. Remove from bag and peel charred skin. Slice
open and remove core and seeds. Cut each pepper length wise in half and
flatten slightly. Set aside.
Peel and thinly slice sweet potatoes lengthwise and place in bowl of cold
water so that the slices wonít discolor. Important: You will need to pat
dry potatoes before placing them in baking dish.
Grate cheese with box grater using course grate. Cover bowl with plastic
wrap and place in refrigerator until needed. Slightly cooled cheese is
easier to handle.
Butter 13 X 9 inch Pyrex or glass baking dish. Preheat oven to 350. In the
prepared baking dish, layer sweet potatoes on bottom trying to cover
entire area. Salt and Pepper the top of the potatoes. Next, layer sweet
red peppers over sweet potatoes, again trying to cover the entire area.
Salt and Pepper red peppers. Next, layer grated Gruyere cheese (or good
Swiss Cheese) over sweet red peppers. Continue layering in this order
until you reach almost top of baking dish. Do not forget to salt and
pepper each layer of potatoes and peppers. Pour heavy cream over entire
area. Reserve enough cheese to completely cover top so that it can melt
and turn a golden brown. Optional sprinkle with bread crumbs and sweet red
Bake gratin for 50 to 60 minutes until bubbly and golden brown in
350-degree oven. (Just a suggestion , try having drip tray under baking
dish in case of boil over) If top is not as brown as you would like, but
potatoes are cooked (test with skewer or fork), place under broiler for a
few minutes. Remove when done and let rest for 15 minutes. This dish will
be very hot when removed so be careful.
Eileen Goltz, a
professional chef and caterer, is the author of the new cookbook,
© Eileen Goltz 2004