This weekend we’re creating an antipasti table for a large wedding and wanted to utilize some of the fresh, local vegetables that are available and delicious right now. After taking a look at these colorful and freshly picked peppers, there was no doubt that we had to include pepperonata in the mix! If you don’t have all these amazing colors to choose from, it works just as nicely with solid red or yellow bell peppers – always best if you can purchase them from your local farm stand this time of year.
Start by cutting the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stems, lay them skin side up on a baking sheet with a little bit of water and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until you see the skins have become crinkly (approximately 20-30 minutes). We prefer to roast them in the oven instead of over a grill because the flavor stays clean and fresh – no charred taste – more of the pure taste of the peppers.
Next put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a sheet pan and let them steam. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins off. Cut the peppers into strips and set aside. Thinly slice red onion, garlic and cook slowly in olive oil. When the onions are transluscent add the peppers, a few capers, green olives, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add a splash of red wine vinegar and a few basil leaves, check the seasoning, let cool and serve.
Pepperonata makes a delicious antipasti: serve with a sliced baguette or toasty bruschettas. It also makes a wonderful topping for grilled chicken or fish. Mangia!