Sunday, January 6, 2013

Marinated Pepper Ribbons

Curling ribbons of red and green tangle atop a bed of creamy mild cheese, dressed in a perky marinade of olive oil and garlic.  How playfully delicious!  Unravel one or an entire knot and place  on crostini for a smoky pizazz of flavor tempered by the velvet of the cheese.  The vibrant colors speak to us before taste confirms satisfaction to the palette, and this appetizer of  Spanish tapas  origin, is a super dipper for crackers, or a crowning jewel to crostini .  The process of roasting and peeling the peppers is a skill that once you've tried and seen how easy it is, will spare you the necessity of purchasing jarred red peppers.  Place the peppers on an oven rack, high in the oven with the heat on broil and char the skins - yes absolutely char them -  until they are bubbly, scorched and blackened, then rotate peppers to another side.  When peppers are charred on all sides, remove them from the oven and place in a plastic bag or into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit and cool about 15  minutes as the skins loosen.  Some recipes recommend peeling the skins off over a bowl to collect any juices that run out to use in your recipe, but if you are not interested in saving the juices, it is much easier to slide the skins off under cold running water.

Marinated Pepper Ribbons
2 green bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
1/4 cup olive oil 
2 tab. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. fresh oregano or marjoram, finely minced
      (or 1/2 tsp. dried and crushed)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
pinch of sugar
1 tsp. capers
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 oz. softened goat or cream cheese 

-Wash and dry peppers.  Place on on oven rack under the broiler and broil on all sides until skins are charred and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and place roasted peppers into a plastic bag or into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rest 15 minutes.

-Under cold running water, rub the skins off the peppers, split open and wash out the pulp and seeds.  Slice pepper flesh into long 1/2 inch wide strips.  Place in a medium bowl.

-Mix all remaining ingredients and pour over pepper slices in  bowl.  Chill 30 minutes or longer.

-Mound softened cheese (cream cheese if you prefer a milder taste) in the middle of a serving platter.  Form into a round disc about 1/2 inch think.  Drain excess marinade off of peppers and place the peppers on top of the cheese.  Serve with crackers or crostini.

-To prepare crostini:  slice a baguette crosswise thinly and place slices on a cookie sheet.  Brush each side with olive oil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until they are dried and golden.

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