A gondola on the Murray, 220pp.
by Stefano de Pieri
ABC Books, Australia, 2001
Cooking on page 32
Australia’s free telephone counselling service, Lifeline, has a fund-raising book fair a couple of times every year. It’s spread over three days and I try to go twice—Friday to purchase the must-haves and then again on Sunday afternoon when a shopping bag of books goes for $20.
I saw this book on Friday (for $8). I liked the look of the recipe on page 32 and hoped the book would still be around on Sunday. It wasn’t in the must-have category simply because I knew I could check it out from the library. After all, de Pieri is a famous Aussie chef and this book accompanies a television series on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
This isn’t the first page-32 recipe by de Pieri that I’ve made. We loved the beef cheeks on a celeriac puree. We loved this too.
Trio of roasted capsicums with garlic and anchovy paste (Peperoni arrostiti a più colori)
3 red capsicums (bell peppers)
3 green capsicums (bell peppers)
3 yellow capsicums (bell peppers)
slices of Italian-style crusty bread, or slices from a breadstick
1 clove of garlic
12 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup parsley, basil or mint, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Wipe the capsicums clean and place them on a baking tray in the oven. When the skins are blistered on one side turn them to ensure even cooking. Do not overcook or the flesh will be mushy.
Remove from the oven and when cool peel, remove seeds and cut the flesh into strips.
Grill the bread on both sides, rub with garlic and drizzle over some olive oil.
Place capsicum on an attractive platter with the bread.
Place anchovies and garlic in a food processor and with the motor running, pour in as much oil as necessary to obtain a spreadable paste. After spreading the paste on the bread, sprinkle with parsley, basil or mint.
Serves 4 (with some leftovers)
How it played out
I made a third of a batch to serve with some of my homemade sourdough rye bread.
Even though the recipe didn’t suggest it, I popped the capsicums in a plastic bag to sweat for 15 minutes before peeling them. No idea why, but I almost resorted to dynamite to get the skin off the red one.
Because I was using only 4 anchovies, I decided not to dirty the food processor. So I chopped the anchovies finely, crushed a clove of garlic and mashed in about a teaspoon of olive oil.
Followed the rest of the instructions and two of us enjoyed this as an afternoon treat.
There were a lot of leftover veggies, so I mixed up another batch of anchovies, garlic and oil, and stirred it through the remaining capsicum strips. Brilliant idea that created a great side dish for dinner.
I love roasted capsicums and I especially loved the addition of anchovies. Had never used them with capsicums before.
This would be a great addition to any antipasto platter and they made a darn fine side dish for dinner.
If you love these flavours, you’ll love this dish. And let me know if you want the recipe for the sourdough rye bread.
P.S. And be sure to check out my travel blog. You never know where I might be.