Something from (almost) nothing sweet pepper appetiser

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Herblay, France

Hi Everyone,

This summer was quite an odd one with more than a few misadventures including, watching our plane to Athens fly over the house without us. Couldn’t leave the cat behind! We thought Lucy was out and about, and looked all over. The stress mounted and we changed our tickets but still no Lucy. Turns out, she was curled up asleep in a bedroom closet. Aye, aye, aye. We had to stay an extra week…..

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know just how much sympathy is coming my way on that one!

The night before we left, we had a friend to dinner. We’d been busy all day getting the house ready to close up and we had no car during that extra week; so the meal had to be made out of what was left in the fridge and the larder: slim pickings. I also wanted to use up what I could so decided against my usual easy, peasy, roasted peppers.

As luck would have it, a neighbour had dropped by with a couple of kilos of small tomatoes the day before and I had made confit tomatoes with them (also known as sun blush in the UK). Rummaging around, I also found some feta, capers, olives, peppers, onions, a few anchovies, garlic, dill and parsley (but I had to save the herbs for the main course).

Here is the approximate recipe, including how I did the tomatoes.

 

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For the tomatoes:

Note: you can do this with any quantity

Preheat oven to 100 °C / 210 °F …or leave it till later – it doesn’t take long!

1 kilo small round tomatoes or large cherry tomatoes (small Roma tomatoes work well too)

1/2 tablespoon thyme

1/2 tablespoon oregano

salt and pepper

best you can afford olive oil

Halve the tomatoes and take out the seeds and middle bits. Do this over a bowl.  All that juice and those tomato innards will be great added to soups or pasta sauces-sieve to remove the seeds first.. Put the empty tomato halves in another bowl. This takes a while so it’s nice to have a friend nearby to chat to. When you’ve gutted all the tomatoes, add the olive oil-I started with a little over a tablespoon and then added a tiny bit more. You want the tomatoes to be lightly coated with oil not floating around in it. The best way to judge this is with your spotlessly clean hands. Season with salt and pepper and add the oregano and thyme (I used dried basil in Greece because it comes in whole leaves and is excellent-I’ve never seen dried basil like that in France, the UK or Canada.) Mix everything together until the herbs are nicely distributed-add more to taste. Place the tomatoes, empty side up, on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Roast in the oven for two and a half hours. When they are done, let cool and put in a bowl…taste a couple. Yummy!

If you aren’t going to use them in the next couple of days, put them in a jar with a few slivers of garlic and more olive oil. This oil will be delicious after the tomatoes are gone for vinaigrette or for basting vegetables before grilling.

For the peppers. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade

Count at least one good sized pepper per person-they’re delicious the next day if you have leftovers. I had about  250 grams of feta (a slab about the size of my palm and about an inch thick) which I put in a bowl and broke up with a fork. I cut up about half a cup of my little tomatoes with scissors directly into the bowl, and added:

a small handful of chopped capers (if they are in liquid be sure to drain and rinse first),

a small handful of chopped black olives,

a handful of finely chopped red onion

5 canned anchovies (omit to make vegetarian)

1/2 tsp each hot and mild paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

lots of freshly ground black pepper-no salt (you’ll have to taste)

I mixed it20150816_141744 all up and was surprised at how good it tasted. If I was doing it again, I would add dill and/or parsley.
I shared out the mixture between the peppers (already de-seeded and cut in quarters) and put them on a cookie sheet with a couple of tablespoons of water. They were in there for about forty minutes but I was keeping an eye on them after twenty.

The great thing about this dish is you can play around with different ingredients. I think toasted pine nuts would be a great addition, for instance. You can serve them warm or at room temperature.

 

 

And here’s the sunset from that last night. Bon appetit, everyone.

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6 thoughts on “Something from (almost) nothing sweet pepper appetiser

  1. Emily @ culinarycorrespondence.com September 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm Reply

    That looks amazing. Just goes to show you need the best, freshest ingredients and a little imagination….I read this last night before going to sleep- I got hungry 🙂 Nicely done mom!

    • Jan September 2, 2015 at 10:40 am Reply

      Nothing like the pressure of ‘company coming’ to give the creative juices an extra nudge! I must say, I really enjoyed these peppers and will make them again. Are you still making hot weather salads???

  2. Beth @ Culinary Correspondence September 2, 2015 at 10:22 am Reply

    You’ve got me dreaming of Milos… these stuffed peppers look fantastic! I’m also super keen to try out the confit tomatoes and have a couple of questions for you. The herbs (oregano + thyme) that you add – I’m guessing they need to be dried, not fresh? Also, how long do you think the tomatoes will last submerged in the olive oil and kept in the fridge? A month? Let me know quickly while there are still a few decent tomatoes to be had in Barcelona!

    • Jan September 2, 2015 at 10:45 am Reply

      Hey Beth, I made another batch since we’ve been back in France….just as good! Adjust cooking time to have them dryer or fleshier, as you prefer. I did use dried herbs but fresh should work since the it’s such a slow oven the herbs won’t burn. I think they would keep for about a month or even more if you fill the jar right up with olive oil. Cheers!

  3. Hanin September 8, 2015 at 2:02 pm Reply

    Yayyyyyyy recipe for sundried tomatoes!
    My favorite! Thank you so much Jan ❤️❤️❤️
    Missing you and Milos so much. Can’t wait to see you soon.
    Lots of love and thank you for sharing. I am sure that the peppers tasted amazing!

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