Culinary Challenge: Don't Let Those Green Peppers Go to Waste!Anya Hoffman
August 14, 2012
For several weeks each summer, we find ourselves with a crisper drawer packed with green peppers. Bell peppers, Cubanelles, long greens: we get an assortment each week from our CSA, which we promptly toss into the fridge to languish while we wait for inspiration to strike.
Though they have their fervent fans, green peppers are more often dismissed (as bitter and under-ripe) or even maligned (food writer Michael Ruhlman once referred to them on his blog as "the earth's most lamentable vegetable"). For those of us whose feelings on the matter are slightly less impassioned, green peppers can still be a culinary challenge—there are only so many stuffed peppers one family can eat. Determined to conquer this aversion, we went on a hunt for recipes that could make us believers. Here are a few that just might do the trick:
A turn in a hot pan with a little bacon fat is always a good place to start.
Turkey Picadillo [Martha Stewart]
When eaten raw, green pepper can be bitter, with a strong aftertaste, but when finely minced and sautéed with onions and meat, it adds a subtle but critical flavor to the dish without standing out. If you have zucchini on hand that you also need to use up, dice it small and throw it into this slightly-less-than-authentic-but-still-delicious version of the Cuban classic.
Rustic Gazpacho [F&W]
Even pepper-haters love gazpacho. Serve topped with finely diced cucumbers for crunch.
Tofu Jalfrezi (Tofu Cooked with Three Peppers) [Honey, What's Cooking?]
Another trick: surround green peppers with their sweeter brethren, as in this spicy, three-pepper vegetarian dish.
A sauté of peppers, onions, tomatoes, and chicken breast is ladled over slices of toasted bread and topped with a generous handful of sharp provolone before baking. Leftovers make delicious fillings for hero sandwiches on Italian bread with a little extra tomato sauce and additional melted cheese.
Pepper Jelly [Food Network]
Combine green bell peppers and jalapeños or serranos to make this sweet and spicy preserve. Try a dollop with crackers and cheese or use it to top grilled brats at your next cookout.