Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bittersweet Success with Agrodolce Peppers

This is one of the trustiest kickin' Italian side dishes. It adds a real pop of color and who doesn't love red bell peppers? The tangy/sweet/sour combination is a real winner. Serve with a crisp white wine.

Sweet and Sour Bell Peppers (serves 4)

3 Tb Olive Oil
4 Bell Peppers, sliced how you like to eat 'em (I prefer 1 x 1 cubes)
1 c Vinegar (I mix about 2 parts white, 2 parts apple cider, and 1 part balsamic. The balsamic gives a great color and packs great flavor, but 1 c of it is too strong, and pricey.)
2 Tb Sugar

Heat the oil in a pan, add the bell peppers and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes. This ensures they cook through, but more importantly, sweats them a bit so they leave all their delicious juices in the pan. After 15 minutes, add salt, which helps pull out even more of their juice.

This is where the magic happens: use tongs to lift the pep's out of the pan. Put them in the serving dish, but you're not done yet!

Add the vinegar into the pan juices, stir in the sugar, and heat over medium to med-high. Stir and watch the vinegar evaporate--the acidic part cooks off, and the fruit solids are left behind to mingle with the sugar and pepper juices. Let the mixture bubble and keep stirring till the mix becomes syrupy and the vinegar is almost completely evaporated.

Now, add the peppers back into the pan and cook for 2 more minutes.

Eat 'em up!

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