Marinated chopped peppers are an incentive to make great food fast. Just the fact that I can spoon the peppers out of a jar and not even have to cut them up has led to spontaneous and delicious dishes. For example, I toss these peppers with boiled shrimp, garnished with parsley, or make a quick dip/spread by mashing the peppers with feta cheese or softened goat cheese and dill or cilantro, or brown sausages, chicken parts, or lamb shoulder chops, add the peppers, and finish cooking. I love to make pimento cheese (in the food processor, ½ cup homemade mayo, ½ cup grated cheddar, ½ cup goat and/or cream cheese, 1/3 cup drained, marinated peppers), and always, romesco sauce (recipe below).
MAKES 3 PINTS
2 pounds sweet red peppers (8 to 10 peppers)
2 cups white wine vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup fresh lemon juice (5 large lemons; save the zest—it freezes well)
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons pickling salt
Char and peel the peppers (description above). Allow the peppers to come down to room temperature. Halve the peppers and remove the seedpod and stems. Chop the peppers.
In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the peppers and toss them in the marinade.
Have ready 3 clean pint jars (or a combination of half-pints and pints) and bands, and new lids that have been simmered in hot water to soften the rubberized flange. Spoon the peppers into the jars and cover with the marinade, making sure the garlic and oregano are distributed evenly throughout the jars. Leave 1/2 inch of headroom. Wipe the rims, place on the lids, and screw on the bands fingertip tight.
Process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes at sea level. Process the jars for an additional 2 minutes for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Remove from the water, let the jars rest for 24 hours, and then check the seals. If the jars seem a little greasy, it is okay. Just wipe them down with a bit of vinegar. The peppers may float at first but don’t worry; they will settle down.
Recipe is adapted from The Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia Bone (Clarkson Potter, 2014)