Advice from a magical kitchen to yours—
Every week, the Kitchen Witch answers your culinary questions with an eye towards seasonal, sustainable cooking. Ask your question by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ECkitchenwitch.
Dear Kitchen Witch,
What can I do with bell peppers this week that is easy? It’s the busiest time of year at my work so I’m fried, but I have a ton of both from the CSA. My spouse washed it all and sliced up the peppers, so the hard part is done, but I want to use them up before they go bad! Help?
—Picked a Peck
Dear Picked a Peck,
Oh, CSAs are a real double-edged sword, aren’t they? So great to get those fresh amazing vegetables! And then sometimes, as when they pick a peck of a vegetable that isn’t your favorite, so overwhelming. My first suggestion would be to make a big batch of peperonata, which you can then use to put on top of any protein (such as pork chops, firm white fish, or chicken). It’s very flexible; the recipe linked here gives specific amounts of different colors of peppers, but you can do whatever you want, and it will turn out good. If you don’t like or have hot peppers, leave them out; if you have all red peppers, do that!
Peperonata also makes a great base for a pasta sauce (try it with anchovy added for a savory twist), a topping for grilled sausages in buns, or a filling to dollop into hot or cold sandwiches. If you make a big batch, you can use it to dress up dinners all week or freeze it for the days (you know they’re coming) when that CSA is all turnips. And if you don’t want to tend it on the stove, consider roasting a similar mix of veggies, rich in peppers, with olive oil to make a veggie condiment that tastes just as good but is hands-off.
If that sounds like a little too much of a project for your busy season, consider quickly sautéed fajitas or a healthy burrito bowl. Throw those pepper strips on the grill alongside steaks for an ultra-easy meal, or use them in a stir-fry. Or slice them up into a quick and pepper-using slaw. If you have tomatoes to use, too, you can turn them into gazpacho; make it the night before so it’s well chilled, and to turn it into a meal add some shrimp on top or alongside.
My easiest suggestion: Dip dinner. Set out those cut-up peppers with more vegetables (preferably ones you have bought already cut up) and some crackers or bread. Place your favorite dips alongside; store-bought is fine, or you can make a super easy one of beans and feta. Eat with your fingers, secure in the knowledge that you have virtuously supported a local farmer and also had an extremely easy dinner that requires almost no cleanup.