One of the things I don’t like are bell peppers. They’re one of those things that people are, for some reason, always trying to convince me to like. (What’s up with that?) And they always seem to put them on airline food as well, presumably due to their forceful, overpowering flavor, which helps the food make more of an impression on our dulled palates at higher altitudes. (And in my experience, my brain, too.) And if there wasn’t a ban on bringing pointy metallic objects on planes, I’d travel with a set of tweezers to remove the offending red and green strips they seem to like to drape over everything.
However, like just about every other thing in my life, there’s a contradiction. And in this case, it’s that I love chile peppers — in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Go figure.
I crave just about anything home-grown, which may be because I live in a city with lots of cars, dogs, etc, where anything growing, you’d be wary of eating. And when we take a ride out to the country, we invariably try to hit as many markets as we can, whatever town or hamlet (which is a goofy word, isn’t it?) that we’re visiting.
I love nothing more than being confronted with baskets of berries from farms, mountains of winter squash piled on tables at greenmarkets, and bundles of fresh herbs that look like they were gathered by an actual person, rather than the plastic-encased bundles in the supermarket.
Most of the time in France, you only come across piment d’Espelette ground to a powder, where it enlivens everything from scrambled eggs to Basque cuisine, the same region where the peppers are predominantly grown and dried. But I’ve not come across them fresh at any markets in Paris, and as we all know, when you can’t have something, that’s when you really, really want it. And I’ve been having a hankering for them ever since last summer.
Even fresh, the peppers have a faint smoky flavor and are enticingly spicy, enough to overwhelm the Parisian palate, but satisfying the Basque — and the occasional American — one. (When he is fortunate enough to get his hands on them.) As my friends packed up their house for the winter, they harvested what they could and brought it up to Paris, surprising me with two dirty, but delicious beets, a basket of the last fresh tomatoes of the season, a bag of tiny onions (which I made marmalade from), and a huge sack of mixed chile peppers, which I put in a bowl and admired, until I realized it was use ’em or lose ’em.
So I got out my grill pan and roasted them all off. Once cooked and peeled, I let them marinate in quite a bit of olive oil, with salt and pepper, and we enjoyed them with a nice dinner of steak-frites with a decent bottle of red, toasting the last vestiges of summer.
How to Roast Red Bell Peppers on a Grill (Kalyn’s Kicthen)
Marinated Roasted Red Bell Peppers Recipe (Simply Recipes)
How to Roast Green Chiles over a Gas Flame (Simply Recipes)
Green Chile Mayonnaise (Use Real Butter)
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese (Closet Cooking)
How to Freeze Roasted Green Chiles (Denver Green Chili)