Scorched Sweet Peppers and Onions

Gentl and Hyers
Here is a technique you don't hear much about. The idea is to cook peppers and onions in a hot dry pan, relying on the moisture in the vegetables to keep them from burning (though they do char in a pleasant way). Since both the vegetables are high in water content, they begin to steam, but the high heat evaporates the steam immediately. As they are stirred, they start to take on a bit of color and soften. Once they are half-cooked, add salt and a small amount of oil, which allows them to caramelize, intensifying their natural sweetness. Eat them hot or cold. They're good plain, but I usually add garlic, hot pepper, parsley or basil, and a little vinegar too.

Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 medium red or yellow sweet peppers (about 1 pound), sliced into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Chopped parsley or basil
Instructions

1. Heat a wide cast-iron skillet over high heat, without adding any oil or fat, until the pan is nearly smoking, usually 4 to 5 minutes. 

2. Throw in the onion and peppers and stir briskly, then continue stirring until the vegetables begin to soften and char slightly, about 2 minutes. Adjust the heat if they seem to be cooking too quickly. 

3. Season with salt and pepper, add the olive oil, and stir-fry until nicely caramelized, another minute or so. 

4. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and turn off the heat, then transfer to a serving bowl and add the vinegar and chopped parsley or basil. 

Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.

Categories: 
SidesVegetarian
Yield: 
Serves 4
  • Simran Sethi: 'We're losing biodiversity in foods'

    "Globally, 95 percent of our calories now come from 30 species," says journalist and educator Simran Sethi, author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate. "Three-fourths of the food we eat comes from 12 plants and five animal species."

Top Recipes

Use less sugar in baking by treating it as a spice

"Instead of thinking about [sugar] as an evil ingredient, I thought maybe we can just go back in history a little bit and think about a time when sugar was one of the many spices that people used to flavor their foods," says Sam Seneviratne, author of The New Sugar and Spice.