Montalbano’s peperoni arrosto – or the best way to cook red peppers
“…si arricriava a mangiare una generose porzione di peperoni arrosto che Adelina aveva lasciato in frigorifero”Andrea Camillieri, La Forma Del Acqua
As regular readers of Saucy Dressings will know, I am a massive fan of detective books and I’m also a massive fan of all things Italian, so Commissario Montalbano, Camillieri’s Sicilian policeman is a double whammy for me! Actually, a triple whammy because he is a massive foodie in a healthily glutinous kind of way.
He can get away with it since he’s an avid swimmer (at least according to the television series). He’s also lucky in that he has a devoted housekeeper, Adelina, who leaves him painstakingly and exquisitely made dishes.
The quote above translates loosely as “he curled up to enjoy a generous portion of roasted peppers which Adelina had left him in the fridge”. But arrosto can also mean put under the grill rather than roasted, and that’s the method described by Stefania Campo in her collection of Montalbano recipes, The Secrets of Montalbano’s Table. I find I can control things better with a griddle, so that is the method used here.
So the method might not be entirely authentic, but it certainly got the thumbs up from The Chief Taster, who commented,
“I think you’ve got this perfect. It’s not just the flavour, it’s the texture: they still have a bit of bite and they haven’t gone slimy.”
Are you in a tearing hurry?
Here is the short-cut and less-washing-up method:
- De seed and de stem the pepper and cut into strips.
- Lightly oil the griddle pan, get good and hot. Put the pepper strips on and get them charred, moving them around….
- ….while you pour the oil into a small bowl; add a pinch (and I mean a pinch…less is more of this, otherwise it will smell and taste like a bad roadside hamburger kiosk) of garlic granules, some dried oregano or herbes de provence, pinch of salt and pinch of pepper or pepper flakes.
- When the pepper done, allow to cool a little. Then pour over the oil and mix the pepper in it well using tongs.
The Chief Taster did not complain…
Here’s how to do it ‘properly’.
The Best Way To Cook Red Peppers
Serves – 2
- 1 large red pepper
- Olive oil…four or five tablespoons
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with 1 tsp textured salt
- Four or five stems of parsley – a couple of tablespoons when chopped
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- Pinch of Urfa pepper flakes or some freshly ground black pepper
- Oil a ribbed griddle, and get it good and hot. Alternatively you can use an oiled frying pan, or you can grill the pepper.
- Meanwhile de-stem and de-seed the pepper and cut it into long strips, as broad as you like.
- Cook on both sides until the skin starts to blister a little – if you are doing this on a griddle, you will get pleasing black bars across the peppers.
- Meanwhile, peel and crush the garlic with the salt on a chopping board. Snip over the parsley, and add the oregano and pepper. Mix together to make a paste.
- Take a large mixing bowl and put in the paste, and then add enough olive oil to make the mixture runny enough to coat the peppers.
- When the peppers are just done (be careful not to overcook them) empty them into the mixing bowl and stir well to coat.
- Serve warm. If there is any of the oil mixture remaining, use it in a dressing, or pour over another vegetable, or mop up with crusty bread!
For another Montalbano recipe on Saucy Dressings, go to Inspector Montalbano’s Rabbit Cacciatore, Or Even Better, Chicken With Olives.
Music to cook to
This is the opening music to the tv series of Montalbano.