When people talk about roasted peppers they often mean charred over a flame, then steamed, to facilitate peeling the skin. In contrast, these really are roasted, with just a spoonful of aromatics inside each pepper (sautéed sliced garlic, an anchovy, a few fragments of black olive, and a sprig or two of fresh oregano or thyme). The result is intensely flavorful squishy-soft peppers that genially pair with burrata. Since we were our only guests [insert sob] we had leftovers sufficient the next day to dice and then toss with some angel-hair pasta and a spoonful of burrata, everything heated just long enough to give it a little pop.
Jody and I make it a priority to cook things that take a broadminded attitude toward their job description, dishes whose leftovers hold up in the fridge, waiting to be repurposed as quick mezzes, incorporated into pastas or salads, or just eaten as is. The pandemic has only sharpened our focus, and if there’s a bargain to be found, so much the better. Nothing will break the bank in this recipe (even burrata is cheap if you compare it to most animal protein). It’s high season for fresh tomatoes, peppers and summer squash. Rosé seems like a deal these days – or maybe it’s just that I appreciate it so much more that it seems cheaper. Either way, it works perfectly with this. Enjoy.
Burrata with Fancy Roasted Peppers
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + additional for drizzling
- 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 16 black olives
- 8 bell peppers
- 8 anchovy fillets
- 8 small sprigs fresh thyme or oregano + additional for garnish
- 12-16 ounces Burrata
- 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar, or other rich sweet and sour condiment like vin cotto or pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon capers
- 4 caper berries – 2 thinly sliced and 2 for garnish
- Crusty bread, to mop up the juice
- Heat ¼ cup of the oil with the garlic over medium-low heat and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and hot pepper. Cool.
- Bash the olives, pit and break in half.
- Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs. Season with salt.
- Put a spoonful of the cooked garlic in each pepper. Add an anchovy fillet, 4 olive halves and an herb sprig.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Set the peppers on a parchment-lined sheet pan on their sides at least 2 inches apart.
- Roast for 10 minutes, turn them a quarter turn and roast for an additional 10 minutes or until they are collapsed, wrinkled and brown.
- Remove from the oven, cover with a sheet of foil and cool.
- When cool, remove the skins, taking care not to let the contents spill out. This step can be skipped if you don’t mind the skins. I like to remove them for texture and looks.
- Arrange the peppers around the perimeter of a platter, cut side facing out so the contents stay inside if there is any slope to the platter. Put the burrata in the center. Drizzle the peppers with balsamic vinegar and the burrata generously with oil. Sprinkle with capers and sliced caper berries if you have. Garnish with remaining herb sprigs, whole caper berries and season with salt.
- Serve with crusty bread.
Note: The peppers will keep up to two weeks in the fridge.
My first job as a restaurant cook was at Seasons, in the Bostonian Hotel. One of the sous chefs made his Italian grandmother’s unforgettable cured peppers stuffed with garlic, anchovies and oregano, preserved in salt, weighted and aged. Eventually the peppers broke down, became tender and were infused with the flavors in the stuffing. They were a fabulous antipasto.
I’ve tried to recreate them over the years, but have never been able to get them right. Mine taste “unfinished;” the texture’s wrong. I’m probably jumping the gun, too impatient to wait while they finish curing.
As soon as I saw these multicolored peppers at the Copley Square Farmers this week that recipe percolated to the top of my brain. Another stab at the curing peppers was mercifully out of the question – not enough time – but adding the same aromatics to the peppers and then roasting everything turned out to be a great alternative. We ate them for lunch as soon as Ken finished photographing. They should last up to two weeks in the fridge, but we didn’t get a chance to verify that since we chopped up the leftovers the following day and combined them with angel hair for a more or less instant simple dinner.
P.S. You may have noticed that in the photo of the ingredients, there are yellow, red, white and purple peppers, but the cooked ones on the platter are yellow, red, white and green. The purple peppers turn green when cooked.