Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of Peppers Green and Red

As peppers become abundant, there are many tasty ways to take full advantage of the bounty. Here are a couple of ideas from some other cultures that know something about peppers.

Create a tasty (and freezable) Latin cooking base called sofrito with green peppers. There are many variations of this robust concoction which can speak to Puerto Rican or Cuban sensibilities, for example. But you can't go wrong with this blend of green pepper, cilantro, garlic, onion and tomato. Surf the web for a version that suites your tastes and use as a base for rice and bean dishes, vegetable soups or stews. You can freeze it in ice cube trays as you might with pesto.

Red peppers and eggplant are a match made in heaven, and ajvar is proof. Control the heat with the peppers you choose, and then enjoy this tasty smoky shmear on bread, in soups, or as a condiment to enhance pasta salads and meats. I like to add it to Israeli cous cous prepared with zucchini, onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Salmon salad gets a whole new twist with a couple of dollops of ajvar, some diced onions and fresh parsley. As with sofrito, many variations exist depending on the country of origin -- Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Yugoslavia to name a few. A few minutes on the web will take you to a number of recipes to work from.

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