A taste of the Portuguese Summer (recipe included!)


No vacation this year? Not sunny on your side of the world? Today I’ll show you how to cook a simple and delicious side dish (roasted bell peppers – Portuguese style) which will give you, wherever you are, a taste of the Portuguese Summer. In fact, this recipe is just right for the most wonderful time of the year!

Afraid I’ll recommend something unhealthy, loaded with fat and high in cholesterol or unfit for vegetarians or vegans? Fear not: All you need is a bell pepper, a gas stove/cooker (anything with a flame, really), a small clean plastic bag, salt, garlic and olive oil.

Green or yellow bell peppers work fine, too – but the red ones are usually sweeter.

Roasted bell peppers make a great side dish, which can then be mixed with lettuce/tomato/onion for a fresh salad or eaten on their own. This way of preparing bell peppers brings out their natural sweetness while giving them a nice smoky flavour. Traditionally, this is the kind of food that is eaten in the Summer months as a side to grilled fish and boiled potatoes.

So here’s how you do it:

1. Get your bell pepper and light the stove/cooker/anything with a flame (flamethrowers not advisable!).

2. Place the bell pepper on top of the flame. After a few seconds, and with a pair of kitchen tongs, gently roll the bell pepper, so that all the sides are touched by the flame. You want your bell pepper to have a few black “bubbles” – not to be turned to charcoal!

Your bell pepper should look more or less like this.

3. Using the tongs place the bell pepper inside a clean plastic bag (a sandwich bag will do just fine) and rub, rub, rub – this will help the skin of the bell pepper to come off easily.

4. Remove the bell pepper from the bag, cut out the ends, remove seeds and cut it in lengthwise strips. If you have any difficulty removing the skin try giving the bell pepper a quick rinse under the tap.

It should end looking something like this. If you can’t remove all the skin that’s fine because, by now, it should be soft.

5. Place in a bowl and season to taste. Typically, the seasoning includes salt, olive oil, an optional dash of vinegar and finely minced raw garlic. Raw garlic is best but if it’s too strong for you either use less or substitute with dried garlic flakes/powder. It’s best to place the roasted bell peppers in the fridge for a while before serving.

6. Enjoy!

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