Sweet Red Bell Pepper, My Favorite Capsicum

Now, don’t get me wrong – there isn’t a pepper I’ve met (or rather, eaten) that I didn’t like. I like them all, from the mildest to the hottest, but there is only one that I love and find a way to use almost daily (even if it’s just as a nosh) – the sweet red bell pepper. I always keep them in the house. Thank goodness my mom has a garden full of them and she only lives 2 blocks away. When the garden is bare, there is always the supermarket. Raw, jarred – I must have them - anyway I can get them.

A Little Info...

Cultivated sweet peppers and more than a few kinds of cultivated chilies like the jalapeno are the fruits of the Capsicum annuum. The plants are native to South America and were first cultivated by the Aztecs. They were introduced to Europe by Columbus and quickly spread to the eastward to Asia and the Orient.

Sweet peppers (and chilies) start off green, ripening to yellow and finally to red.

There are some varieties of peppers that are cultivated specifically for their unusual colors, which can range from purplish-black to lilac and cream.

Peppers picked while they are still green will not ripen and change color (they only do that while still attached to the plant). Green peppers may be “mature” but they are not ripe (when it comes to peak of flavor). Where a green pepper is sharp, almost acrid, the same pepper picked a week or two later when red (or even orange or yellow) will have mellowed considerably.

When it has ripened to a red (or yellow) color, the sweet pepper contains three to four times much vitamin C as an orange. They are also rich in vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.

Roasting Peppers:

  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

  • Put the peppers in a roasting pan and place in the oven (rack set near the top).

  • Roast, shaking the pan frequently until the peppers have shriveled and collapsed (about 30-40 minutes).

  • Enclosed in paper bag or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

  • Peel, discarding seeds and stems.

Broiling Peppers:

  • Preheat the boiler.

  • Place the peppers in a roasting pan and set under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat source.

  • Broil, turning as each side browns until the peppers shrivel up and collapse (about 10-20 minutes).

  • Enclosed in paper bag or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

  • Peel, discarding seeds and stems.

Buying and Storing:

  • Avoid peppers with soft spots or bruises, or those that feel really full (since you’re buying them by the weight why would you want to pay for all those seeds).
  • You should store them unwrapped, in the refrigerator vegetable bin, for about a week or so.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that center around my favorite capsicum:

Endive Leaves with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salsa

Another great appetizer. It’s quite easy to make and looks elegant too.

Ingredients:

2 large red bell peppers

½ cup minced fresh fennel bulb

2 TBS. chopped Kalamata olives

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS red wine vinegar

¾ tsp. Fresh rosemary, minced (or ½ tsp. dried)

½ tsp. minced garlic

24 endive leaves, ends trimmed (from about 3 large heads)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Char peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclosed in paper bag or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Peel, seed and chop peppers.

Mix fennel, olives, oil, vinegar, rosemary, garlic and peppers in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange endive leaves on a platter. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the salsa onto each endive leaf and serve.

*Salsa can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.*

Sweet Red Pepper Puree

Slightly sweet (with an optional gentle bite of chili). I make it every weekend and keep it in the fridge to use over the week. Good served with pasta or as a sauce for fish or poultry.

Ingredients:

4 red bell peppers

4TBS. Olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 fresh or dried chili, seeded and chopped (optional)

4 TBS. Chopped tomatoes

1 tsp. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup fresh parsley, washed and chopped

Directions:

Remove the caps, seeds and stems from the peppers.

Gently stew all the vegetables in the oil for about 12-15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, add the sugar and parsley, combine well and let the mixture cool.

Process in a food processor or blender until smooth and reheat briefly.

Sweet Red Pepper Risotto

Colorful and delicious. Great for lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

2 large red peppers, skinned and seeded

4 ½ cups vegetable stock

5 TBS. Olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib of celery, washed and diced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

10 ounce can of plum tomatoes, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup fresh parsley, washed and chopped

Directions:

Dice the peppers, discarding the membranes.

Bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a covered pot.

Heat the olive oil in a large shallow pan. Fry the onion and celery until they have turned a pale gold color. Add the garlic and mix well.

Pour in the tomatoes and add the diced peppers. Season and mix well.

Add the rice and stir to coat with the sauce for a minute or two.

Add the stock in stages, stirring well with each addition (allow the liquid to be almost completely absorbed into the rice before adding more).

Continue until all the stock has been used and the rice is soft but still retains a slight firmness and is no longer soupy (about 25-30 minutes in total).

Mix in half the parmesan cheese and ¾ of the parsley.

Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese and parsley on top.

Simple Mixed Sweet Pepper Salad

Using the different color peppers gives this dish a nice visual impact. I serve this with fresh, crusty Italian bread. Soooo good – I could eat this all day!

Ingredients:

4 sweet peppers (1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 orange)

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, washed and chopped

4 TBS. olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin)

juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Broil or roast the peppers until the skins are charred and blistered all over. Transfer them to a bowl, cover and cool. Remove the charred skins and trim away the white membranes and seeds. Slice the flesh into long strips about ¼ to ½ wide (whichever is your preference). Place the peppers into a serving bowl.

Beat the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic together and pour over the peppers. Sprinkle with the parsley, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Let me know what you think... 14 comments

elisabethkcmo profile image

elisabethkcmo 7 years ago from Just East of Oz

mmm, love the red peppers, especially roasted!

great hub, good luck to you in the HubNugget thingy!


Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

Personally, while I like peppers, they don't like me, but I wanted to pop over and congratulate you on the HubNugget Wannabe nomination. Good luck


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Love peppers and loved the recipes.


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thanks everyone for the well wishes and stopping by. Happy that you liked what you read & saw. Much appreciation :-)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

pddm67: The Hubnuggets team loved your red bell pepper hub! :) congrats for being a Hubnugget Wannabe! Now off you go to vote and promote your hub to your friends, family and to all red bell pepper lovers! To read about the hubnuggets, click here: http://hubpages.com/hubnuggets10/hub/new-authors


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thanks ripplemaker! Am taking you advice to heart. Much appreciated :-)


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

I really like red bell peppers. You've got me wondering why the heck I hardly ever buy them. What's the purpose of cooling in the brown bag or plastic wrap? Does it have anything to do with bitterness? I made some roasted red pepper soup recently and it had a slight bitterness to it.


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Unfortunately they are one of the more expensive peppers sold in the supermarkets. I always look around for the best price when I have to purchase them.

When you place them in a paper bag or under plastic wrap, that helps steam the skins so that they are more easily removed after the peppers have been roasted or charred.

Leaving some of the charred skin on the flesh of the pepper can result in some added bitterness. Also it may be that the peppers are a little more acidic. If that's the case, you can add about 1/4 tsp. honey to cut the bitterness.

Hope I've helped. Thanks for stopping by rmcrayne!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Definitely helpful pddm.

Costco usually has 6-packs w/ red, orange and yellow for a pretty good price.

HEB Central Market in San Antonio has a Hatch Pepper weekend every year.


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York Author

I love when the multi pack of colored peppers are on sale! I'll come home with so many and I'll spend the rest of the weekend making all sorts of yummy stuff for the upcoming week. I always keep the jarred ones in the pantry in case i'm too busy or just feelin plain lazy :-)


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 7 years ago from Canada

Great recipes and I love peppers too except the jalapeno's, lol. :)


jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 7 years ago from Delhi, India

Thanks for sharing the cecipes.


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thank you Dame Scribe and jacobkuttyta!

My husband can't eat the jalapenos either. He ate one by mistake once and did NOT enjoy it in the least. I have been slowly building up his resistance to spicy foods over the years. He's getting much better - lol. Maybe one day he'll attempt the jalapeno again ;-)

Enjoy the recipes & Rock On!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

I also like red bell peppers because of their nice juicy kind-of-sweet flavor. A couple of days ago I invented a “raw beetroot, tomato and red bell pepper salad” that was a huge hit and decided to make a Hub out of it. While looking for backlinks, I found this hub of yours and decided to include it using the anchor text “red bell pepper”. Hope you don´t mind and thanks for writing good quality, interesting and useful hubs that allow me to use Hubpages' backlinking tool :) The hub is called “grilled salmon with beetroot, tomato and red bell pepper salad”, if you are interested in checking it out.

Thanks again,

Cheers!

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