We don’t argue about much.
We love the same music, have the same passion for quirky, edgy TV (Fargo, anyone?) and the same boring idea of how to spend New Year’s Eve.
But put us in a nursery at the start of garden season, and we get downright hostile.
“I want pepper plants,” my husband says.
“We don’t eat peppers,” I counter.
“Yes we do,” he says.
“No we don’t,” I insist. “We hate green peppers!”
Some people abhor cilantro. I hate green peppers. Their skin is thick and waxy; their taste is too acidic; they become almost inedible when cooked. (At least, to my tender tongue.)
Yet my husband always wins these annual pepper wars. Yes, I’ve winnowed him down over the years (we now have two pepper plants instead of five or six). But that’s still a lot of peppers. Particularly if you hate them.
So my mission? Figure out a way to like these things before they rot on the vine.
I’ve tried a bunch of techniques this growing season: Thin pepper strips in salads (yuck); finely chopped peppers in salsas (eew); peppers stuffed and baked with rice (nasty).
But last night …
I cracked the pepper code.
Broiled ’til blistered (along with half an onion), then hand-chopped and doused with cumin, vinegar and oil, the hateful peppers were transformed. They were sweet. Tender. Bright and complex — a perfect foil for our grilled chicken dinner.
This treatment wouldn’t work with commercial green peppers. The fruit coming off my plants is thin-skinned and relatively small. Those huge, thick green peppers at the local grocer wouldn’t take to this approach at all.
But I can see making a batch of broiled peppers from our two dainty pepper bushes and eating them the rest of the summer.
Heck. I liked this dish so much, it may put an end to the annual pepper wars.
My husband might get three bushes next year.
Broiled Pepper Relish
Besides taste and size, a benefit of using tiny, homegrown peppers in this dish is that you don’t have to peel them after they’re broiled. Simply cool, chop and season to your taste!
- 5 small green peppers
- 1/2 yellow onion, cut into big chunks
- Grapeseed oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Cumin seed
- Salt & pepper
Turn on your oven’s broiler.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat it with nonstick spray, then place the whole peppers and onion chunks on it.
Drizzle with grapeseed oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss.
Broil the peppers until they’re nicely charred, turning them occasionally. This process takes about 20 minutes. Be sure to watch the peppers and onions to make sure they don’t burn.
Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers. Finely chop them, along with the onions. DON’T use a food processor — you’ll end up with a mushy paste.
Place the chopped peppers and onions in a bowl. Add a dash of cumin seeds and equal amounts of vinegar and olive oil. (The exact amounts depend on the consistency you want. Start out with 1 1/2 tablespoons of each.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.