Basil, bell peppers, honey, olive oil, onion, sherry vinegar
This dish not only tastes fantastic, it’s gorgeous, can be made ahead and can be served either warm or at room temperature. It tastes of summer and is a perfect addition to any BBQ…the Fourth of July is around the corner. I used a combination of red, yellow and orange bell peppers. I add an onion, as well, because onions are good and they are good with peppers. I love the sweetness of this dish, but it’s not too sweet. The original recipe is from Evan and Sarah Rich, owners of Rich Table in San Francisco. They serve this, or at least their version of this, at the restaurant. I made a couple of small changes, but it’s a keeper.
Sweet-and-Sour Peppers with Basil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to finish
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (see NOTE)
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced in 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces or very coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, sherry vinegar, garlic and salt.
Place a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the onion slices and cook until they have a nice char on one side but still have crunch; turn and char the other side. Remove them from the pan; cut into bite-sized pieces and toss them in the bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and half of the peppers. Cook until the peppers are charred and cooked, but are still crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the peppers to the bowl with the onions. Place the remaining teaspoon olive oil in the pan and cook the remaining peppers. Combine with the first set of peppers and toss together. Toss the remaining peppers with the honey mixture and season with salt. Set the peppers aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes (or up to overnight), then sprinkle with the basil leaves and serve.
NOTE: I didn’t use the oil to cook the onions or the pepper. I used a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and it worked very well without the oil. I added the olive oil to the vinaigrette. Feel free to add black or green olives, artichoke hearts, feta, or tiny bocconcini balls to this. You can change the herbs to cilantro, parsley, marjoram or oregano, as well. Anchovies and citrus zest can be added to the vinaigrette.
Adapted from Rich Table
Now isn’t that simple? I prefer to “grill” the onions in a cast iron skillet. Look at that char…it’s just the way I wanted it. I don’t add oil to the skillet with either the onions or the peppers.
I think they char better and faster so they don’t lose their crispness. I drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of my favorite full-flavored olive oil over the mixture. In this particular version, I added garlic and I used part Sherry and part white balsamic vinegar. This is excellent with grilled meats, as well as pasta.
I served this with sesame-crusted pork tenderloin with plum compote, grilled nectarine wedges and rice. Pretty and pretty tasty.
Just a reminder, with the 4th of July a few days away, The Goddess wishes to remind you that Lemon-Pistachio Pasta Duet, and Classically Good Potato Salad are both great salads for the Fourth, and take advantage of the last of the local berries and fix Strawberries with Basil for dessert.