This is an extremely popular restaurant dish you can easily make at home. This recipe uses Romano peppers but you could easily use bell peppers instead. The most important part is to make it and have your mind blown.
About the dish
Roasted peppers have a sweet smoky charred flavour that goes extremely well with something creamy and salty. For example with mascarpone and black olive tapenade loaded with anchovies.
This is the perfect starter, sharing plate or summer salad fit for a romantic dinner, Sunday brunch or lazy lunch.
In this recipe, we will cook the roasted peppers from scratch.
Homemade roasted peppers are always better than store-bought or preserved ones. However, there are great quality jarred red peppers out there if you’re feeling a bit lazy.
I recommend buying Piquillo peppers from Spain for this recipe if you are not making them from scratch.
This dish is not all about the peppers though. Although the bright red peppers give it extreme sexiness and the smokiness adds to the intrigue. It’s important to balance the flavours to make it a complete dish.
Creamy Mascarpone and salty umami-rich olive tapenade bring all the right flavours to the show. Finished with some spring onion, freshly cracked black pepper and a big glug of good extra virgin olive oil.
Suddenly we find ourselves with a restaurant top seller and a something anyone can easily make at home in under 30 minutes.
What are roasted peppers
Roasted red peppers are whole peppers that have been roasted in some way. Over hot charcoal like in this recipe for easy BBQ side dishes. In a skillet on the stove like we will do for this recipe or in the oven on a baking tray under the grill.
Some cowboys use a deep fat fryer. DON’T DO THAT! It’s a sure way to make roasted pepper that sucks. It won’t give you the sweet charred taste and aroma associated with properly roasted peppers.
Once they are roasted their skins are removed and you are left with perfectly sweet succulent and slightly smoky peppers fit for many other uses.
What is tapenade
Tapenade gets its name from the French word tapenas. It means capers. This recipe for tapenade, however, does not contain capers. For no specific reason. Let’s call it Author’s privilege)) Feel free to add them if you wish.
Classic tapenade is a paste or thick sauce consisting of olives(black or green or both), anchovies, capers and olive oil.
There are many versions out there. you might even have a homemade tapenade recipe yourself. Maybe you are vegan and have a tapenade recipe without anchovies.
Whichever one you choose. It’s perfect with these roasted red peppers.
How to make tapenade sauce
This recipe for olive tapenade uses black olives. I also went a few steps further and removed the capers and added in some chopped parsley for freshness.
Making this recipe for tapenade does not get simpler. Chop up the black olives without their stones/pips. Chop it as fine as you like or pulse in a food processor. Just don’t make it a puree.
Do the same with the anchovies. Next, chop some garlic very finely and also some chopped parsley.
Finely we add some olive oil and simply give it a mix.
** Vegan note.
This will be vegan olive tapenade without anchovies.
Roasting the peppers on the stove
Heat a skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan on the stove. Add peppers and char them till pretty much black all over on high heat.
Once done, place in a bowl covered with a cloth or plastic wrap.
Leave for 10 minutes while the peppers steam in their own heat. This step ensures they are fully cooked and makes the skin peel off easily.
After ten minutes carefully remove the skins which should come off easily if you did it correctly.
I prefer keeping the stalks on as they look a bit fairy-tale like and give the peppers even more character. Feel free to remove them though.
At this point, the peppers can be chilled or served straight away as is with some olive oil salt and pepper.
Other ways of roasting peppers
In the oven – Turn the oven grill on. Place peppers on a baking sheet into the oven and start to grill them. Turn them often. When nicely charred all over, place in a bowl covered with a cloth or plastic wrap for the same reason mentioned before.
On the Braai(BBQ) – Roast the peppers whole over hot coals until well charred. Follow the same steps as for the above two mentioned methods by placing in a bowl and letting them steam in their own heat.
With a blowtorch – This is my least favourite method. It works but the skin “crumbles” and end up having to wash the peppers to get rid of the skin. None the less. When in an emergency. Does the job.
Plating the dish
Mix some mascarpone with olive oil and salt and give it a rough mix. Spoon on a plate and create a well in the middle of the plate.
Place the roasted, peeled and chilled peppers on top. Spoon some tapenade all over. Chop up some spring onion or chives and add those. Lastly, add a glug(2 tablespoons) of good grassy extra virgin olive oil and a fresh grinding of black pepper.
Take a snap, post it to Instagram and tag @pantsdownapronson
For a perfect light summer meal with a glass of rose toast a piece of sourdough bread to mop up the sauce on the plate.
Serving suggestions and alternatives
Roasted peppers could be simply enjoyed with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a toasted piece of sourdough bread.
You could also use it in the following dishes.
- Bruschetta – Simply toast a bit of sourdough or ciabatta. Top with the same ingredients mentioned in this recipe for a perfect wine snack. Make mini versions called crostini on some toasted baguette for a cocktail reception or pre-dinner snacks.
- Hummus – Make your favourite hummus recipe or buy ready-made. Chop up or blend the peppers and add to hummus for easy roasted red pepper hummus.
- Fajitas – Perfect for stuffing into fajitas with some roasted chicken or as a vegan fajita with other roasted vegetables and hummus as a sauce.
- Adjika – Blend some adjika paste with roasted peppers. Use as a spicy dip or curry paste.
- Make a 10-minute vegetable curry by adding a tablespoon of this adjika pepper mix to roasted vegetables and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, season and serve with some perfectly cooked rice.
- Perfect side dish for Braai or summer BBQ - Serve plain or use this recipe.
- Tacos – Slice up thin and add to tacos with meat, fish or vegetables.
- Sandwich - Grilled chorizo, rocket and roasted red peppers make an amazing warm sandwich
- Cream cheese dip for crudites – Blend with some cream cheese and olive oil. Serve with vegetable crudites like carrots, celery, cauliflower and cucumber. Kids dig it too.
- Pizza – Add as a pizza topping. With or without meat.
- Soup – Blend into a summer gazpacho or a make winter warmer by cooking with some roasted vegetables, a touch of cream and vegetable stock and blending till silky smooth.
- Flatbread – Add to some flatbreads with yoghurt sauce and fresh herbs for an Iranian/ Italian treat.
- Focaccia – Bake on focaccia studded with rosemary, cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with sea course sea salt.
- Breakfast – Have some roasted peppers left? Bake them into a Frittata or serve with baked eggs.
- Pasta with roasted red peppers – Add to this amazing homemade blistered tomato pasta for a Roasted red pepper pasta with mozzarella and tomatoes.
- Chicken with roasted red peppers – Pan roast or BBQ chicken is perfect with these peppers. Spoon over a little salsa verde, chimichurri sauce or mushroom garlic butter.
Frequently asked questions
You could find roasted red peppers in grocery stores in the tinned and preserved food aisles.
It’s best consumed fresh but can be store airtight wrapped up in the freezer for up to three months.
Once roasted, store in olive oil covered airtight in the fridge. alternatively, vacuum pack it and it will happily last for up to two weeks(often longer) in the fridge.
Tapenade freezes well as long as you wrap it up airtight. Freeze for up to 6 months without any negative effects.
Useful equipment for this recipe
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Roasted Sweet Peppers with Olive Tapenade and Mascarpone
For The Roasted Peppers
- 8 (8 ) Romano peppers - note 1
For The Tapenade
- 120 g (1 cups) pitted black olives - drained weight
- 20 g (1 ⅓ tablespoon) anchovies - finely chopped - note 2
- 4 g (½ tablespoon) garlic - finely chopped
- 50 g (3 ½ tablespoon) olive oil - extra virgin
- 6 g (1 ½ tablespoon) parsley - flat leaf - finely chopped
- 10 g (⅔ tablespoon) lemon juice - freshly squeezed
For The Mascarpone
- 10 g (3 tablespoon) chives - finely chopped
- 16 g (1 tablespoon) olive oil - extra virgin
- 1 g (½ teaspoon) black pepper - freshly ground
For The Roasted Peppers
- Heat a skillet or heavy bottomed frying pan on the stove. Add peppers and char them till pretty much black all over.
- Once done, place in a bowl covered with a cloth or plastic wrap.
- Leave for 10 minutes while the peppers steam in their own heat. This step ensures they are fully cooked and makes the skin peel off easily.
- After ten minutes carefully remove the skins. I prefer keeping the stalks on as they look a bit fairy-tale like and give the peppers even more character. Feel free to remove them though.
For The Tapenade
- Chop up the pitted black olives . Fine as you like or pulse in a food processor, but don’t turn to puree.
- Do the same with the anchovies, garlic, and parsley.
- Finely we add some olive oil and simply give it a mix. Taste it for seasoning and set aside until necessary.
For The Mascarpone
- Mix the mascarpone with olive oil and salt.
- Spread the mascarpone onto a large plate.
- Place the roasted peppers on top. Spoon the tapenade all over. Chop up the chives and add them. Lastly add a glug(2 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil and a fresh grinding of black pepper.
- Also known as Romero peppers. Alternatively use regular sweet bell peppers.
- Make it vegan by omitting the anchovies.
- Instead of mascarpone use soft goat's cheese or a vegan substitute if you wish. If the cheese you're using is too thick, thin it by whisking in milk or water little by little until you have the desired consistency.
- Tapenade can be stored in the fridge for up to a week sealed airtight or frozen for up to 6 months.
- Once the dish is assembled it should be eaten straight away. Maximum it will keep in the fridge for a day.