Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blog Cookery~Roasted Red Bell Peppers

This is Margherita Savoy, the first Queen of Italy! She was the Eldest Daughter of the Duke of Genova. She became the Queen consort in 1878 and remained by the King's side until his assignation in 1900. The reason I mention this is that Jim's Grandmother was named Margherita, she was from Genova and she was born in 1902. We just realized today that there is no doubt that she was named after this Queen. Queens go, there is also little doubt that Gramma Marge as she was known to us, was the Queen of cooking in our family.

One of our family traditions is that we always have a Christmas dinner for the extended family that is pretty heavy on the 1st course or antipasta. We do this because Gramma Marge use to and it is very Italian and so we have tried to carry it on in her memory. For both Jim and me that is the best part of the dinner. This is what it usually includes: A big Caesar salad, roasted red peppers ( the star of this post), Italian dry salami, Provolone or cheddar cheese slices, green and black olives, marinated artichokes, bread sticks, pepperchinis, and then a variety of other things we may add in on various years. This year we are adding in 3-bean salad. I'll take a picture of it tomorrow if I remember. There will be 17 of us so I tend to get pretty harried at the last minute.

So today we made the roasted bell peppers. This is a delicacy that used to take hours to prepare. Before you could buy roasted red peppers in a jar you use to have to char them in a very hot oven and then place the peppers in a brown paper sack to steam them and then laboriously peel the blackened skin off the peppers. (It is kind of like peeling a thin wall paper off a wall that hasn't been sized.) Dreadful, but it was so worth it for the delicious peppers.

These days it is so easy and equally delicious!

Jim drains the peppers into a colander

Remove the seeds, rinse and slice the peppers

Mince the garlic and use a lot!
Cooking it releases the flavor and tames it down considerably.

Put quite a bit of olive oil in your pan~
this is more like frying the garlic than sauteing.
Be careful NOT to burn it. Jim kind of swirls
it around on the burner like you would when
making a crepe. You only heat it for a few
minutes~ like two, maybe.

Put the Christmas peppers in a bowl

Stir in the garlic and oil

Voila, that is it! This is to die for.
Most people love it that have been here at Christmas

Whoops, one more thing...put it in a bag
and let it work together for your good overnight.

And add salt to taste.
Eat the peppers chilled or at room temperature.

It almost feels like Gramma Marge and Grampa Andrew
are right here with us again when we make this!
And that is one thing I love about family Christmas traditions!

Serve and enjoy with your salad course!