Ellie Bouhadana's Traditional Italian Pepperonata
Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, Melbourne-based chef Ellie Bouhadana shares her recipe for a traditional Italian dish, pepperonata.
Originating in the south of Italy, pepperonata is a delightfully tangy yet sweet dish of sliced capsicums. Typically served with bread and other marinated delights, or as a delicious pasta topping, this summertime snack is the perfect addition to any alfresco lunch spread.
Making this comfort side dish is incredibly simple and sees charred and peeled capsicums marinated in an oil, vinegar, parsley, and garlic concoction. The result? Tender capsicums that add a wonderful pop of flavour to pretty much anything and everything.
And don't forget, the fresher the ingredients, the tastier the pepperonata!
- 6 red bullhorn capsicums
- 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- A handful of parsley, chopped
- A few pieces of of mint, chopped
- A few sprigs of fresh oregano, washed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Flakey salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Place the capsicums directly on an open flame (either on a stove or an outdoor fire) and let them roast. They will turn black and charred.
Rotate them every now and then to make sure every part of the capsicum is exposed to the heat and chars nicely. Depending on their size, this should take between 5-10 minutes.
Once charred, put the capsicums in a bowl and cover them with a large plate so that no air can escape - this allows them to steam and get soft enough to pull apart.
When they have cooled down, working with one capsicum at a time carefully peel off the charred skin and discard.
Remove the head and inside of the capsicum as well and discard the seeds and juice.
Repeat this for all the capsicums until they are clean and red again. A little leftover char may stick to the capsicum, that is fine and will add flavor.
Slice the capsicums into rough strips and place them in a clean bowl.
To make the pepper marinade, whisk together the garlic, vinegars, parsley, a big sprinkling of flakey salt, a nice pinch of pepper and a decent amount of olive oil (around 1 cup) until emulsified.
Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and olive oil if needed. It should taste strong and acidic.
Pour the marinade over the capsicums and let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
To serve, mix the capsicums together with the mint and arrange roughly on a platter topped with the oregano and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
Enjoy this together with fresh bread, cheese and marinated things such as olives.
Tip: As long as they are covered in olive oil, you can keep these capsicums stored in the fridge for a week, sometimes longer.
For more from Ellie, follow her at @ellies.table