Festive Alternatives for Holiday Entertaining
Peperonata crostini topped with verdant green basil pesto, is one of my very favorite combinations to serve with cocktails, or as a starter, and especially for a holiday gathering! The Peperonata is festively colorful and piquant with a caramelized sweet smokiness that is sure to induce a spirited evening of wining and dining!
I came across Nancy Silverton’s recipe for peperonata in The Mozza Cookbook when the book came out and have been using it as a guide for various renditions ever since. The following recipe is spiked with chilies, anise, and sweet cherry tomatoes that, topped with a basil pesto…diverso (recipe in previous post and listed in Basics and Bites and Starters), delivers a stellar taste bite worth adding to your kitchen repertoire. Delicious as an addition to pastas, pizzas, omelettes, stir fries, tacos,…!
Peperonata:Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large shallot, halved and sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced lengthwise, and halved
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced lengthwise, and halved
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced lengthwise, and halved
- 1 long red chile, sliced lengthwise, seeds and veins removed, and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 long green chile, sliced lengthwise, seeds and veins removed, and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 teaspoons Spanish sherry vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup oil cured black olives, pitted
Heat a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil nears the smoking point, add the onions, shallots, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring continuously until the onions and garlic have softened without browning.
Add the peppers and chilies and sauté for a couple of minutes until wilted. Add the sherry vinegar, oregano, anise seeds, and sugar and sauté several minutes, stirring until the ingredients are well combined. Add the cherry tomatoes and mix in evenly.
Press the mixture down into the pan and flattening the surface with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. Turn off the heat and transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
A word of warning! Be sure to remember that the skillet handle is scorching hot when it comes out of the oven, so do not mindlessly grab the handle without a hot pad, as I have done in the past when rushing to get the meal to the table!!!
Remove the skillet from the oven and add the olives evenly distributed over the surface, pushing them down into the onion mixture. Return the skillet to the oven and continue to roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until the mixture is slightly charred around the edges of the skillet. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Serve the peperonata at room temperature atop toasted Crostini (posted in Bites & Starters; Roasted cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta) and a small dollop of pesto…diverso on top.
The peperonata can be refrigerated for several days, bringing it back to room temperature before serving.