So here I am, after the summer hiatus. Trying to survive the end of the warm weather and longing for the cooler air of autumn. And making a lot of salads. This bell pepper and tomato salad is a Sephardic recipe, that is, made by the Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and that spread and settled all over the Mediterranean region, where they jealously preserved their culture, from a book by Ana Bensadón. This recipe must have been developed after the discovery of the New World, of course, as tomatoes and peppers are not originally from Europe. I love Sephardic recipes, because they resemble Spanish recipes so much, but always have something truly unique and original. This recipe is indeed very similar to a recipe from the region of La Mancha, asadillo de pimientos, a mixture of roasted red bell peppers in tomato sauce, only this time the peppers are swimming in literally oceans of tomato sauce. Delicious.
- 2 pounds red bell peppers
- 2 pound green bell peppers
- 1,5 pounds tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Roast the peppers until browned on the outside, in the oven at 180ºC (fan) / 200ºC (no fan). Let stand covered so that they can be peeled.
- When peppers are cool remove the skin thoroughly and drain them in a colander, cut into strips, so that they release all their juice, at least 3 hours.
- In the meantime prepare the tomato sauce. Seed, peel and chop the tomatoes. Set aside.
- Peel the garlic, slice it and stir-fry in a couple of tbsp oil in a skillet. When golden brown add the tomatoes and stir-fry until the tomatoes are soft and cooked through, crushing them with the edge of a wooden spoon as you go. You can also leave the seeds and skins and ultimately pass the sauce through a food mill. It will be less chunky, but equally good.
- When the tomato sauce is ready add the peppers shredded into thin strips and cook in a very, very low heat, about 3 hours, until all the liquid is fully evaporated. Salt to taste.
- Since many Sephardic dishes, even salads, have a sweet touch, I added a good spoonful of sugar cane molasses. The slightly smoky flavor of the molasses goes well with the tartness of the tomatoes.
Enjoy with some good Spanish wine and country bread. Perfect when eaten al fresco in a warm Spanish plateau evening… don’t you think?
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