Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sweet Bell Pepper Gratin

Sweet Bell Pepper Gratin“Let’s have a potluck party! I will teach you how to make gumbo soup there!” one of my girlfriends proposed after I had asked her for a gumbo soup recipe.
“That’s wonderful! I will bring fruit salad” another girl immediately responded.
Then, the other girls followed her by saying what other favorite dishes they would bring with them. I was the only one who did not come up with anything. I felt shame of myself. I am cooking and writing about food everyday but I cannot propose any dish for such a casual event!

After I came back from the lunch, I asked my husband for advice.
“How about dolmadakia?” Dolmadakia is a famous Greek / Mediterranean appetizer, sometimes called stuffed grape leaves, in which rice is stuffed in grape leaves.
It sounded like a good idea. So I sent an email to my friends that I would bring a Mediterranean appetizer.

One day before the potluck party, I went for grocery shopping for my cooking. Then, I found out some beautiful and huge red bell peppers on sale.

Things happened for a reason. After I bought a bunch of the gorgeous bell peppers, I decided to make this sweet bell pepper gratin, which is very simple yet, tasty and can be an impressive Mediterranean appetizer.

The day of the potluck party, I brought this dish with one Italian baguette. It is needless to say but the people loved this gratin. I was very happy that I received a lot of compliments about my cooking skills.
If you plan to have a potluck party and do not know what you would cook, this may be an excellent choice. I bet your people would love it and you would be proud of yourself.
Sweet Bell Pepper Gratin
4 red bell peppers
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup panko (bread crumbs)
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp capers in wine vinegar
5 black olives
1 tbsp dried or fresh oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Place the red bell peppers on the oven pan and bake them for 40 to 50 minutes until the peppers become soft and the skins turn blackened.
Or place them on the barbecue grill for 15 to 20 minutes until the peppers become soft and their skins become blackened.
2. Remove the peppers from the oven or grill and transfer to a glass bowl. Cover it with a plastic wrap and let them cool for 20 to 30 minutes (or leave the bowl cover with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or overnight.).
3. Transfer the peppers into a baking pan. Peel the skins and remove the seeds on the pan so that the delicious juice would not be wasted. Cut them into stripes. Place them on the baking pan.
4. Place the ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, panko (bread crumbs), the chopped garlic, the capers, chopped olives, oregano, chopped flat-leaf parsley and a pinch of salt in a bowl Stir them well.
5. Spread out the panko mixture over the bell peppers.
6. Bake it for about 20 minutes until the panko mixture become brown.

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