These organic red peppers are sweet, crunchy and very versatile. They’ll add crunch to salads, colour to stir-fries and smoky sweetness to a plate of roasted veg.
Storage & prep
Will keep for a week or two
Storage: These long, tapering, irregularly shaped peppers may look like a giant chilli, but they don’t have any heat. Sweeter and fuller in flavour than a standard bell pepper, they are fairly hardy and will last a week or more in the fridge.
Prep: Cut away the stems, seeds and white internal ribs before using; easily done by cleaving them in half and trimming away anything that looks pithy and seedy. You can slice, dice or keep them halved for stuffing. You can roast them whole, too.
You can use them raw in a salad but cooking reveals their full potential. Hollowed halves make a perfect vehicle for stuffings. Sliced thinly they can be sweated down in a frying pan with a tangle of onions until soft; a perfect base for paella or goulash. They become sweet and tender when cooked until the skin blisters; do this in a hot oven, under a fierce grill or on the bars of a flaming BBQ. Peel away the skin to reveal lobes of tender flesh.
Raw: They are ideal sliced into salads; cut thinly, as too large a chunk can be a challenge. A raw pepper is one of the key ingredients of a cold gazpacho soup, along with tomatoes and cucumber.
In a pan: They work well in a quick stir fry and add a good flash of colour, but the flavour isn’t too much of a departure from the raw taste. A little more time and heat really brings out their flavour. Slice thinly and cook down gently with some onions for 20-30 mins or so, until you have a soft sweet tangle. This makes a great base for a paella, goulash or Mediterranean stew. The classic Italian dish peperonata is simply peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes, cooked down into a rich sauce.
In the oven: Roasting them whole not only softens and sweetens but adds a deeper, smoky flavour. Keep them whole, rub with a little oil and roast them on a high heat, turning often, until the skin blisters and blackens. Allow them to cool in a bowl covered with clingfilm (this makes the skins easier to remove). Peel away the skin and remove the insides. They can then be added to salads or mezze plates, used to enrich sauces or stews, or are perfect as a pizza topping or tart filling. Try and conserve any roasting juices as they can be mixed with a little oil and vinegar to make a companionable dressing.
Roasted peppers filled with chorizo and fragrant brown and wild rice, with wilted greens and sweetcorn on the side. Although calling for a few preparatory steps, this makes a delectable and healthy meal. Use whatever greens you have in your box for this – chard, spinach, spring greens or kale.
Serves 4 - 1h 15 min
Peppers work well with:
Cheese – especially feta, goat’s cheese, mozzarella
Chilli and paprika
Herbs – especially basil, marjoram, oregano
Olives and olive oil
Pork, lamb, chicken