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The recipe today has a very especial taste to me, more than the sweet taste of bell peppers marinated in olive oil but the taste of New York. We’ve been dreaming about visiting the Big Apple for quite a long time and finally we got to spend three days there. Even with a Chicago like weather and a cold I didn’t expect we managed to walk around and experience this parallel universe New York City is.

Central Park, Times Square or 5th Avenue? No, the highlight for me was Di Fara, no doubt. The legendary pizza place in Brooklyn has its fame for a reason, after all you’ve got to believe in a 78 years old Italian immigrant who makes from 100 to 150 pies a day, five days a week since 1969. Domenico DeMarco handcrafts each pizza; when he is sick or not available the place is closed. Forget about the pizza – if you can – this is pure history in front of you. Period!

OK, don’t forget the pizza or you would miss a transcendental experience and the chance to taste a real pie made with the finest Italian products. Their signature ingredient is sun dried bell peppers, which lead us back to this recipe (which leads me back to my memories…..sorry, just can’t help).

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I’ve made dried tomatoes so many times in my life and even sold a few jars to friends, oven dried tomatoes I used to marinate in olive oil, garlic and dried oregano. They were pretty good, a bit time consuming but soooo worth to make. And after tasting Domenico’s pizza I could not wait to try the same process with bell peppers.

Drying or slow roasting, you name it. The idea here is to forget – well, kind of – your vegetables in the oven until they lose considerable amounts of water but are still meaty and softy. That is how I like my tomatoes and it works beautifully with peppers too, since they absorb much more olive oil and flavor from the marinade.

You will also notice I do not use racks, just baking sheets. That is because even though it takes more time for the pepper to dry, the juices are slowly caramelized on top and under the pepper and you don’t lose any flavor.

Ingredients

 4 red bell peppers – about 1 ½ pound

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3 garlic gloves, chopped

About 2/3 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 250 ˚F. Remove the stem end of each pepper. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise (from stem end to tip) and remove seeds and ribs. Arrange the peppers in a baking sheet, skin down, forming a single layer.

2. Mix sugar and salt and sprinkle on top of the pepper.

3. Place baking sheet inside of the oven and bake for about an hour or until water accumulates on top of each slice of pepper. Turn skin up and continue baking.  Turn them over once or twice throughout the drying process, which may take from 4 to 6 hours, depending on the size and moisture level of peppers. Just be careful to not over dry. If some peppers dry before others, remove them from the oven and reserve.

4. Remove dried pepper from the oven, toss with chopped garlic and drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil. Bring it back to the oven and bake for extra 15 minutes or until garlic is slightly golden.

5. Take the peppers from the oven, place them in a clean jar and cover with olive oil while they are still hot. It is better when consumed after a week but if you can’t wait that long, give it at least a day or two to build the flavors. Keep in the fridge and enjoy over pizzas, salads, pastas, panini, pestos, etc…

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6 Responses to “Oven Dried Bell Peppers and a visit to Di Fara Pizza!”

  1. Tia Stockton

    Ohhh. This looks sublime.

  2. amanda areias

    Thanks Tia Stockton! Glad you liked :)

  3. Jas @ AbsolutelyJas

    Such an easy, simple idea, and I bet that the flavour blows the usual rubbery jarred variety out of the water :) That pizza looks beyond amazing too!

  4. Becky

    Love the pictures of the gentleman making pizza!! Crazy that he’s still going strong at 78! I found your blog from the Huffington Post and what can I say, I’m a new fan!! Love your photography and seriously mouth watering recipes!! I post mostly seasonal recipes over at theVintageMixer.com. Hope we can stay in touch and swap ideas!

  5. Patricia

    This looks great! In a week or so I’ll be drying tomatoes in the oven and this year will also dry green peppers and Anaheim mild spicy peppers. I hope I can keep them in the fridge longer than a week but will research this. Anyone have any idea how I can preserve them? I know I can freeze them but am told they get a bit soggy.

  6. Eat with Namie

    Oh…I’m teary imagining the taste of the pizza I will never get to taste! Sun dried bell peppers sound wonderful! It will be a replacement for charred red peppers.

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