Chefs and bloggers Joey & Katy show us how to put a charred spin on this classic Italian dish.
This molten, charred, tangy peperonata boasts a full house in the power quadrant of flavour – salt, fat, acid and heat. It scores ten across the board. If you’re a fan of softer, more subtle flavours scroll on by!
A classic peperonata stewed on the hob can be a touch too limp and slimy for our taste; and while sweet and tangy, it misses our favourite flavour complexity – char. For us, a roasted peperonata (which then softens in the residual heat of the oven, as you’ll see) offers the best of all worlds – soft, sweet, yielding peppers, with the complexity of a little roasted char.
We add sliced garlic at the beginning to roast, deepen and sweeten, and freshly minced garlic with the sherry vinegar at the end for just a little hit of that fierce pungency. Playing with two very different expressions of garlic helps to layer in flavour and build what we think is the tastiest peperonata around!
Earmark this one for some long overdue summer entertaining! It can be made well ahead and served warm or room temperature. It’s the perfect bruschetta topping, or serve it with our cacio e pepe chickpeas, as we did here. The bowlful is quite something.
Choosing organic when it comes to peppers makes a big difference to their flavour; this dish relies on the red peppers having inherently good flavour so seek out organic if possible.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 32 minutes
This recipes serves 2 as a main course, or 4-6 as a bruschetta topping with salads etc.
For the tray roast:
- 2 red peppers
- 1 onion
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 anchovies
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp falkey sea salt
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 8 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped from stalks
For the mix-ins:
- 12 de-stoned green olives
- 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped from stalks
- ½ clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp baby capers
- 4 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees and have an oven rack at the top.
Prepare all the ingredients for the ‘tray roast’: deseed and slice the peppers into long thin strips; peel and slice the onions through their root into very thin half moons; peel and finely slice the garlic cloves; and strip the thyme leaves from their stalks.
Combine all ‘tray roast’ ingredients in a suitably sized roasting tray (ceramic or glass if possible), muddle well to ensure everything is coated with the olive oil and seasoning, and roast at the top of the pre-heated oven for 22 minutes.
While the peppers etc. are roasting you have time to prepare the ‘mix in’ ingredients: halve the olives, strip the thyme leaves from their stalks, and finely mince the garlic. Combine these ingredients with the drained capers and sherry vinegar, and leave to macerate while the peppers and onion roast.
After 22 minutes turn the oven off but do not open the door; the aim is to keep all that residual heat and steam trapped inside to encourage the pepperanate soften and sweeten fully. Set a 10 minute timer and leave the peperonata in the oven for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove your roasted peppers from the oven and pour in the sherry vinegar dressing. Mix everything very well, and use this liquid to scrape off every last morsel of flavour from the roasting dish.
Serve on grilled sourdough as a bruschetta, or mop up with soft focaccia and a green salad. We highly highly recommend trying this peperonata with our cacio e pepe chickpeas – they are rich, umami, creamy and comforting and such a fabulous contrast this sharp, feisty, firecracker or a recipe!