warm red peppers and tomatoes, with sichuan pepper and vinegar
To me this dish is the kind you want to pass around at a casual dinner party. There’s something about large pieces of peppers that’s slightly elegant…do you see it or is it just me? Smooth, shapely, vibrant, but totally approachable.
But on to a more, or at least equally important aspect: the flavours. And they’re, well…
See this is sort of a cross between a salad and, um, a Chinese stir-fry. There are warming sichuan peppercorns and there’s some sweetness from the cinnamon. There’s a vinaigrette of sorts happening though it gets added to the wok rather than remaining a raw dressing. But who needs categories. It’s its own thing. A slightly unusual, simple, and, if you agree with me about the elegance of peppers, entertaining-worthy… dish.
Warm Red Peppers and Tomatoes, with Sichuan Pepper and Vinegar
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 red peppers, destemmed and deseeded, cut into quarters lengthwise
1 small red onion, halved and sliced thinly
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, stems discarded
1/4 tsp sichuan peppercorns, ground
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can reduce this slightly for a milder heat)
1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs Chinese red wine vinegar
3 large tomatoes cut into large pieces (or equivalent–a mix of large and whole cherry tomatoes is fine)
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then add the oil and allow it to get hot. Add the peppers and onions and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes or until the peppers are softened and start to char. Add the herbs, spices and salt, stir and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Immediately add the vinegar and tomatoes to the hot pan, stir gently and allow the tomatoes to get well incorporated. Plate and serve hot or at room temperature, with grilled bread to mop up the juices if you’d like.