Think of this as a cousin of the classic pepper stews pepperonata or piperade, but cooked down and caramelized to feature the peppers and onions' sweetness and luscious, spreadable texture. Its terrific as a condiment for eggs, simply cooked meats and fish, or spread on toast for a quick meal with hearty toppings, like cheese and herbs, leftover meats or roasted vegetables.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 12ounces onion (about 2 medium)
- ¼cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 ½pounds red bell peppers (about 3 medium)
- 4cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (about 6 sprigs)
- 1 ½teaspoons red-wine vinegar, or to taste
Step 1Slice the onions thinly, into 1/8-inch half-moons. (A food processor is great here, and you can reuse it for the peppers later.)
Step 2Heat the oil in a large, tall-sided skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions and 2 big pinches of salt. Stir every couple of minutes so they become soft without getting too much color (browning in spots is fine), about 10 minutes total.
Step 3Meanwhile, stem, seed and slice the peppers into 1/8-inch strips.
Step 4When the onions are ready, add the peppers and garlic and another 2 big pinches of salt, and stir until the juices collect in the bottom of the pan, then let it cook. After about 10 minutes, the juices may have cooked off, so keep a closer eye on the pan, and stir more frequently so it doesn’t burn.
Step 5After 5 minutes or so, or when the sound has turned from a steamy bubble to a more crackling sizzle, you’ll want to stir about 30 seconds to a minute, to pick up any bits that have caramelized, and dissolve them back in.
Step 6After another 5 minutes, or when the peppers are very soft and spreadable and everything smells fantastic and sweet, add the thyme and vinegar and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. Taste, and add more salt or vinegar if desired. Remove the peppers from the heat, and let cool. Store, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks. It tastes best at room temperature or warm.