Don’t get me wrong–I love crunchy and juicy, fresh red, yellow and orange bell peppers raw, and most of the time I eat them that way, either as a snack or in salads, or in crudite. But once in a while I totally crave the delicious, easy to prepare roasted version, whose luscious caramelization gives a wonderful, sweet depth of flavor which can enhance so many dishes.
Arugula salad with avocado, fresh basil, roasted peppers with a fried egg on top (my breakfast today–SO delish!), turkey, ham and swiss rollups with mixed greens, roasted peppers and mayo (my dinner last night), frittata with pepper jack, cilantro and roasted peppers, pressed panino with melted fresh mozzarella, salami Calabrese, pesto and roasted peppers or the hors d’oeuvres featured here: garlic crostini with warm goat cheese, fresh basil and roasted peppers, are just some of the endless possibilities.
Technically, these are broiled rather than roasted–I think they come out juicier that way! You can also achieve similar results by grilling the peppers over high heat, if you prefer.
To make these crunchy treats, you’ll need:
3 sweet bell peppers (1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow), washed and dried, and cut as illustrated below
extra-virgin olive oil (a tiny bit to rub on peppers before roasting, and about 1/4 cup to use for garlic oil, and a couple of tablespoons to marinate the peppers in)
balsamic vinegar (about a tablespoon)
1 baguette, cut on the bias with a serrated knife into 1/3″ slices
2 cloves garlic, crushed
kosher salt to taste
1 11 oz. log fresh goat cheese
garnish: tiny leaves of fresh basil
Prepare the peppers. Heat broiler (or grill, if using) on high. Line a sheet pan (for the broiler) with foil.
Slice the ends off of each of the peppers. Discard the stems. Set each pepper right side up onto your cutting board. Make one vertical cut all the way down to open each pepper, and then run your knife along the inside horizontally to remove the ribs and seeds. Shake the peppers to dislodge any clinging seeds. Slice each pepper swath vertically, into two or three pieces.
Rub the skin sides of each pepper slice with a tiny amount of the olive oil (to avoid smoking). Place the peppers with a little space in between onto the prepared sheet pan (or skin side down onto your hot grill). Allow them to broil (or grill) for about ten minutes, rotating pan halfway through for even browning, if using your broiler.
When peppers are nicely charred (see photo), scrunch the aluminum foil from the pan (use a new piece for peppers on the grill) up and around them, sealing it shut to allow the peppers to steam and the skins to loosen. Let them sit for about 20 minutes or more, until they are cool enough to handle.
Remove and discard the skins from the peppers. Slice the peppers vertically into 1/3″ pieces. Toss them with a little extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and kosher salt until the flavor is well-balanced.
Prepare the crostini. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the 1/4 cup olive oil with the crushed garlic and a generous amount of kosher salt in a small bowl. Brush the garlic oil onto both sides of each baguette slice. Set them onto a foil lined sheet tray, and place them into the preheated oven. Cook crostini for about ten minutes, or until they are starting to lightly brown and get toasty and crisp. Flip them over, and allow them to cook for another couple of minutes. Remove crostini, and let them cool for a few minutes, reserving foil on the tray.
Spread each crostino with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the goat cheese. Place three or four roasted and marinated pepper slices on top. Put them back onto the lined sheet tray, and this time, put them under the broiler for a minute or two, until the goat cheese is warm and soft. Remove them from oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Right before serving, sprinkle each crostino with the prepared tiny basil leaves. Enjoy!!
And that’s amrita’s table!