Around My French Table
Carole & Simone Talk to Chef & Author Dorie Greenspan
Carole Kotkin is a syndicated Miami Herald food columnist and co-author of “MMMMiami – Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.” She is also the manager of The Cooking School at The Ocean Reef Club, food editor for “The Wine News” magazine, and co-host of “Food and Wine Talk” on southfloridagourmet.com.
Simone Zarmati Diament is editor-in-chief and publisher of www.SouthFloridaGourmet.com and founder of The South Florida Gourmet, a publication focusing on food, restaurant and wine news, dining entertainment, wines, spirits and travel.
Dorie Greenspan is the author of Around My French Table a collection of inspiring, delicious and very personal recipes based on her years of living, cooking, and writing about food in Paris. Shortly after publication this fall, it was chosen as the best cookbook of 2010 by Amazon and jumped onto the The New York Times bestseller list and now it is nominated for an International Association of Culinary Professionals award.
Dorie has written nine cookbooks and co-written books with Julia Child, Daniel Boulud, Pierre Herme and other star chefs. She’s a contributing editor at Bon Appetit. She has a lively food blog and tens of thousands of followers on Twitter. The book was years in the making and it shows, peppered with anecdotes about friends in Paris lucky enough to have a Sunday supper at her house — or she at theirs.
Around my house we never seem to have enough roasted peppers. I love their sweet smoky flavor, silky texture and bright colors. You can season them any way you like with fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, cumin, coriander or parsley, and they go well with fish, chicken, eggs or pork. Roasted peppers don’t bring on indigestion as raw peppers sometimes do. You can buy them jarred, but they taste better homemade.
With a bit of patience, they are really easy to do. Once roasted, they keep well, so I roast a dozen at a time to use right away, later in the week or freeze in one-cup containers for whenever it suits me. The supermarket has mounds of brilliant red, yellow, orange, and green bell peppers on display. The red ones have the sweetest, most intense flavor; the yellow and orange are somewhat milder; and the green has a slightly different, less sweet flavor and offer a nice color contrast to the red. Remember that a green pepper is an unripe pepper (if left on the vine it will turn red as it ripens) so the sugars are not present and roasting will not make it sweet.
To Roast Peppers:
Place halved peppers cut side down on a baking sheet, brush with oil, and place about 4 inches from a preheated broiler until the skin is blistered or charred.
Once roasted, put the peppers in a bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let them steam for 20 minutes to loosen the skin, and then scrape it away with a table knife (it’s OK if bits of charred skin remain). Resist the temptation to rinse them, or you’ll wash away flavor. Core and seed the peppers, and cut them as your recipe directs.
Once you have these silky peeled peppers at your disposal, there are plenty of ways to enjoy them. Toss them with pasta, puree them for a dip or soup, stuff them in a sandwich or chop them as a sauce for grilled fish or chicken breasts. The simplest, and to my mind the best, use is to dress them with olive oil, garlic and herbs. You can serve them as an appetizer with thick slices of fresh mozzarella or goat cheese, or on toasted country bread for bruschetta. They make a perfect topping for pizza, or a filling for omelets.