Preparing and Cooking Peppers

Preparing and Cooking Peppers (Capsicum)

To prepare stuffed peppers or capsicum, cut off the top and then cut away the inner core and pith, and shake out the seeds. The seeds and core are easily removed when halving, quartering or slicing. When buying, choose peppers that look glossy and sprightly and feel hard and crisp. Avoid any that look wrinkled or have damp soft patches. They will keep for a few days at the bottom of the fridge.

If you need to skin peppers, cut the pepper into quarters lengthways and grill, skin side up, until the skin is charred and evenly blistered. Place the pieces immediately into a plastic bag and close the top of the bag with a tie or a loose knot. Leave for a few minutes and then remove from the bag and the skin will peel off easily.

There are countless ways of cooking peppers or capsicum. Sliced, they can be fried with onions and garlic in olive oil and then braised with tomatoes and herbs. This is the basic ratatouille; other vegetables, such as courgettes and eggplants, can of course be added. Peppers can be roasted, either with ratatouille ingredients or with only onions and garlic. Cut into large pieces, place in a roasting pan and sprinkle with olive oil, torn basil and seasoning. Roast in a very hot oven for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Grilled peppers are another superb dish. Once grilled they can be skinned to reveal a soft, luxurious texture and added to salads.

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