Last evening we had some friends to dinner. Everything we ate, except some goat’s cheese was from the garden. It was a beautiful evening with an amazing sunset and a full moon. The air was very clear as the Tramontana wind had been blowing all day, it abated while we were eating but blow all night and is howling around the house as I write.
We began with roasted peppers.
This recipe is quite simply stunning: hard to imagine how something so easily prepared can taste so good. This recipe has appeared in numerous English recipe books (including Delia Smith’s Summer Collection and Elizabeth David’s Italian Food, and has been served at some of the best restaurants in the UK (including The Walnut Tree near Abergavenny, where I had it the first time and Bibendum in London) Some recipes manage to keep their integrity even when they have been copied and appeared in print many times. So I am very happy to share it with you.
4 large red or yellow peppers
4 tomatoes, skinned and quartered
8 anchovy fillets
2 cloves of garlicExtra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepperbunch of basil leaves
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).
- Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds but leaving the stalks intact (they’re not edible but they do look attractive and they help the pepper halves to keep their shape). Lay the pepper halves in a lightly oiled roasting-tray.
- Put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave them for 1 minute, then drain them and slip the skins off, using a cloth to protect your hands. Then cut the tomatoes in quarters and place two quarters in each pepper half.
- Snip one anchovy fillet per pepper half into rough pieces and add to the tomatoes. Peel the garlic cloves, slice them thinly and divide the slices equally among the tomatoes and anchovies. Now spoon 1 dessertspoon of olive oil into each pepper, season with freshly milled pepper (but no salt because of the anchovies)
- Place the tray on a high shelf in the oven for the peppers to roast for 50 minutes to one hour
- Then transfer the cooked peppers to a serving-dish, with all the precious juices poured over, and garnish with a few scattered basil leaves.
I served this with some home made bread.
As it had been such a hot day and I knew my guests very well, the meal was very light. In Italy Sunday lunch is usually a huge meal so that if you invite people Sunday evening the meal is usually lighter. I then grilled some goat’s cheese from mu local producer and served that on a bed of salad leaves with pacchino tomatoes and cucumber on the side. I drizzled the top with olive oil (sometimes I use walnut oil with goat’s cheese) and a little pomegranate molasses. For dessert there was panncotta with raspberry coulis and a few raspberries and blackberries to garnish.
All very simple but delicious; everything depending on the quality and freshness of the ingredients