This recipe is inspired by the Italian antipasti of sweet peppers that seem to have been cooked in olive oil to the point they melt in your mouth. The secret is to let the peppers sizzle in a big helping of olive oil on a low flame for as long as you can stand it. About 45 minutes to an hour should do it, but a little longer makes them even more caramelized. Peppers are a most underrated super food. They have one of the highest vitamin C levels of any fruit and vegetable, are high in vitamin K (usually found in dark leafy green vegetables), folate, potassium, and vitamin E. And the bright orange and red colors indicate the presence of powerful antioxidants like those found in tomatoes and carrots. I serve this recipe on a bed of radicchio leaves topped with shallots, a grating of parmesan, and an extra drizzle of balsamic vinegar for an antipasti meets salad vibe perfect for summer weather.
4 tablespoons (60ml) olive oil
8-10 small sweet peppers or 2-3 bell peppers
2 tablespoons (30ml) balsamic vinegar + extra drizzle for the radicchio
1 radicchio head
1-2 shallots, sliced
Garnish of parmesan cheese (optional)
Slice off the top stems of the peppers, remove the seeds and cut them into halves or quarters (and eighths for bell peppers).
Add the olive oil to a hot pan on medium-high heat and add the peppers.
Sautée the peppers for 5 to 10 minutes to let them soften before covering.
Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper.
Lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let the peppers gently simmer for at least another 45 minutes until they become tender and caramelized.
Salt and pepper the peppers according to your liking. You might like to raise the heat to high for a few minutes at the end to char them slightly.
Remove about 6-8 of the radicchio leaves from the head and cut the leaves in half (you can also slice the leaves into slivers for more of a coleslaw presentation). Add the leaves to a plate with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Add the caramelized peppers on top of the radicchio leaves.
Then add the shallot slices, an extra drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of parmesan (optional).