Thursday, November 17, 2016


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Eastside Road, November 16, 2016—

SOMEONE ASKED the other day on Facebook about peeling peppers, and I was surprised at many of the responses. They ranged from some who advocated leaving them unpeeled to others who took scrubbers to them. Most, thankfully, referred to roasting the peppers, either over an open flame or in the oven. Even among those, though, there was divergence as to what to do next. Some even suggested washing them under running water.

What I do is rinse them if they need it, in which case I'll have to dry them with a towel, and then roast them on a front burner of the gas range. If they're small I'll have to hold them with tongs while they roast; bigger peppers can simply like on the gas grate.

If I have a lot of them I'll take that grate off and use an iron grill I picked up years ago in a flea market. In any case, once they're blistered all over I put them in an ordinary paper bag and fold the top over to let them steam in their own juice a few minutes.

Then I run the tip of a paring knife around the stem end and then cut a slit from stem to stern, trying to cut the curved side so I can then flatten the pepper by hinging it along the straighter side. The sharp tip of the paring knife then trims the veins from the inside of the pepper, and with the edge of my hand I scrape the seeds out.

I turn the flattened opened pepper over again and scrape the charred peeling off with the knife. If more skin remains tightly adhered than I like, I set the thing over the flame again, just for a few seconds, and then go at the recalcitrant places with the paring knife.

Tonight I sliced very thin three or four cippollini, and sweated them in good olive oil over a very slow flame, cooking them without letting them color. Then the peppers went on top and a lid went on the pan. Salt, of course. If I'd thought about it before it got dark I'd have picked some marjoram or thyme. Salt and good olive oil was enough flavoring.

Dinner: Cook fried some sole fillets and steam-cooked a small cabbage she'd sliced, and the peppers and onions made a nice side dish. Green salad afterward.

Cheap Pinot grigio
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