A year or so ago, I was making my winter quinoa salad—the one with sweet potato, red onion, and red pepper—just about every week. Lately, though, I haven’t been eating it as frequently. The last time I thought I was going to make the salad, I bought a red pepper and the rest of the ingredients, but I never got around to using them.
The red pepper sat in the fridge for weeks, and I saw it every time I opened the crisper. It sat there mocking me. Why did I really buy it? What was I thinking? What was I going to do with it?
A few days ago, shortly before it would have gone bad, I came up with an answer: I would roast it. A roasted pepper, marinated in oil and vinegar, is not only delicious, it will last a while on its own. I could buy time to find a use for it.
Roasting a pepper at home is very easy. You just put the pepper in the flame of the gas burner on your stove, either by standing it up on the stove itself, or by holding in the flame with a pair of tongs. Move the pepper around so it gets charred on every side. Once that’s done, put the pepper in either a brown bag or place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Leave the pepper until it cools, at which point the skin will come off very easily. Rinse the pepper to get the seeds out and any little bits of skin that may remain. Slice the pepper into long narrow strips, and then marinate them in olive oil, vinegar, and a bit of oregano, or other herb.
The peppers will keep a few days, at least, in the fridge, and they’re great on their own, on a sandwich, or, as I discovered, in an arugula salad with shavings of Parmesan. The sweetness of the pepper counteracts the tartness of the arugula, making it a colorful and perfectly balanced salad.