I highly recommend having a variety of condiments on hand in your pantry, fridge, and freezer so that even when you think you have nothing to serve for dinner, you do. This lovely, melting, sweet pepper confit is just such a condiment.
Red bell peppers are simply green bell peppers left to ripen. What this means is that the full flavor of the pepper is developed, the sweetness mature along with the crunch and the inimitable pepper flavor that comes without a bite.
The bell pepper is a very recent addition to French cuisine. It arrived in Europe in the 17th century, from the New World but it settled in Central Europe, then made its way south to the Mediterranean, on the African side. There it was incorporated into everything from salads to soups and stews, and with the migration of north Africans to Europe, it came nearly full circle. Today, the bell pepper is a year-round staple, with Spain being the primary producer in Europe followed closely by Holland.
The best red bell pepper is, of course, that produced locally. When I can get them from a local grower who has waited until the last split second to harvest them, warm from the sun, they give that extra sweet punch of flavor.
Once you’ve got this pepper confit on hand you can use it to toss with steamed vegetables, fold it into whipped cream to use as a dip or a sauce, rubit between the skin and the meat of a chicken before roasting, serve it under slices of hot, slow-cooked lamb, or simply put it on your favorite sandwich. These are just a few ideas for this luscious condiment – you’ll find many more!
Note that this keeps in the fridge for about one week. I recommend freezing it in smallish portions, then you’ve always got it on hand! Bon App!
- 3 tablespoons; 45ml olive oil
- 2 large red bell peppers seeded, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves green germ removed, diced
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the peppers, stir, and lower the heat to medium. Cook, covered, stirring regularly, until the peppers soften, which will take 30 to 40 minutes. Check the peppers as you stir; if they are turning dark, lower the heat.
- When the peppers are cooked, season them with salt, remove from the heat and let cool.