Saturday, April 7, 2012

Should’ve Known Better

Hello, hello!  Take a look at my newest favorite thing to eat.

Ciabatta with Cashew Cheese and Roasted Red Peppers

That would be roasted red pepper slices on good bread with homemade cashew cheese.  This is the vegan’s answer to bread and cheese, and it’s really good.

I have to admit that I’ve been ambivalent about roasted red peppers for a long time.  It always seemed to me that people talked and wrote about them in dreamy, transcendent tones, and I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.  Also, I was far too lazy to make my own roasted red peppers at home using that fussy method where you roast the peppers until the skins are blackened, then steam the peppers by sealing them in a bag after they come out of the oven, and finally you peel all the black skin off, leaving you with silky pepper slices.  Seriously—peel the peppers?  Are you kidding me?

Then last summer, I tried Nigel Slater’s roasted red peppers, and they were pretty tasty.  Most importantly, they were easy.  No peeling involved—just a few swipes of the knife and into the oven they go.  So I think I was already primed for Melissa Clark’s take on roasted red peppers, which she shares in Cook This Now: slice a few red bell peppers into thin slices, toss with olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika, and into the oven they go!  When they come out, they are tender, sweet, and savory, the flavor of the smoked paprika having permeated them in the heat.  The olive oil gives them some richness, and the salt balances everything out.

These roasted red pepper slices are so good that it’s tempting, very tempting, to eat them all straight off the roasting pan.  But if you can restrain yourself, drape them over a green salad or pile them onto some good bread.  And if you have more than two red peppers on hand, you might consider throwing all of them into this recipe.  I bought three last weekend and roasted two, thinking I’d save the last one…just in case?  I should have known better.  Roasting brings out the best in just about every vegetable, so why hold back?  Next time I won’t.

Check back here tomorrow for that homemade cashew cheese—it’s creamy, tangy, and the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of roasted peppers.

Easy Roasted Red Pepper Slices

From Cook This Now by Melissa Clark

Serves 1-2

2 medium or large red bell peppers, cut into thin (~1/4-inch) slices

4 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt (I use Morton coarse kosher salt)

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1)  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  In a small bowl, toss together the pepper slices and oil.  Add the salt and paprika, toss again, and spread the pepper slices on a baking sheet.

2)  Roast for about 25 minutes, until the peppers are tender, sweet, and completely delicious.  Serve hot or at room temperature, any way you like.  Or don’t bother serving them and just eat them straight off their baking pan.  If you share with me, I won’t tell anyone about your greediness.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

This looks delicious. I am looking forward to the cashew cheese recipe so I can replicate it exactly!

Rosiecat said...

Chrissy, your wish is my command...get your cashews ready!