This recipe introduced me to sofrito, before which I’d never pureed onions before. Such an unthinkable extent when slicing and frying were the epitome of flavour as I knew it. Still, effort was made, and onions were blitzed, peppers were roasted and my kitchen was once again filled with smells and the anticipation of something new. I served it alongside a grilled spicy bratwurst, with spiced cumin and olive-oil tossed mushrooms. I’m also intrigued by this being a great accompaniment for buttery mashed potatoes, or polenta, as the original recipe did.
Peperonata (delicious over polenta)
Recipe adapted from Herbivoracious
8 ripe bell peppers (any combination of red, yellow or orange)
1 large or 2 medium white onions
5 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons double-strength tomato paste (or 6 tablespoons of regular tomato paste)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Handful flatleaf parsley
Remove seeds and ribs, cut tops and bottoms off of bell peppers and roast in a 200 deg C oven. Bake till skins are blistered and slightly charred, roughly about 40 mins. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Peel skins off and slice into strips.
While the peppers roast, prepare your sofrito. Puree chopped white onions and garlic in a blender till smooth. With olive oil in a large pan, fry the pureed onion, until the onion is browned. Add the salt, tomato paste and cook until the sofrito is uniformly coloured a dark brown.
Add the red onion, vinegar, peppers and liquid from the peppers. Set the heat to medium and cook until the red onions are fully softened. You can add a small amount of water or more cooking sherry to make the sauce. Stir in black pepper and minced parsley just before serving.
1 can chickpeas, cooked to specifications
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika
cracked black pepper
pinch Maldon salt
Cook the chickpeas according to specifications (adapted accordingly if you’re using canned or fresh). Once it’s done, gently mash the chickpeas lightly.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Stir in the paprika and chickpeas, cumin, pepper and salt. Mash the chickpeas in the pan to your desired consistency. Serve hot