Sunday, September 28, 2008

Red Pepper Crack

The chiles on the pepper plants are really going gangbusters. Last week, put a pound of them in a bag with some fresh tomatoes and then forgot all about the whole thing. I found that bag today. Happily, it was full of amazingly BRIGHT RED peppers, and a couple of tomatoes somewhat past their prime.

Since these peppers have been a profound disappointment in the spicy realm (they were supposed to be the famed green chiles of my native land), I decided they'd shine best roasted. And then I decided that since they mostly taste like your average red bell pepper they should be used in my all time favorite red bell pepper recipe.

Of the 83 cookbooks on the dedicated shelf, one of the biggest is the 1996 CIA New Professional Chef. Despite its huge size, I use exactly one recipe from it. That recipe however, is a doozy. Tucked beneath a script for vegetarian crepes is a list of ingredients and a few simple instructions for roasted red bell pepper coulis sauce. In it chopped shallots are softened in dry white wine until syrupy while red peppers roast under the broiler. Once the peppers are slipped from their crackling black skins, they join the shallots and are bound together with a few other choice ingredients. A rustic chef serves this as is, but I like to whirl it through the blender to create a lighter sauce. Honestly, I could eat it like soup.

As luck would have it, a few of the peppers are packing some heat. I tested the sauce for balance and to my delight experienced a slow burn roar through the sweet, smoky aftertaste.

It will take an extreme act of willpower not to harvest all the other peppers and use them just for sauce, no matter how addictive.

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