Red Peppers Inspire Recipes from the Road

May 14, 2004

WHILE stopped at an intersection in my car, a man was selling beautiful red peppers to the line of stalled cars held captive by the stoplight.As he passed me, I did a mental inventory of my refrigerator – I had a week’s supply of red peppers at home. I avoided the impulse purchase by passing the time planning that night’s dinner utilizing the red peppers waiting in my fridge.We love red peppers. They add color and favor to many recipes. The best way to feature the red pepper’s favor is through roasting them. ROASTING peppers always seemed difficult, but in reality, roasting peppers is easy with the tips that follow. Once you have the peeled roasted pepper, add them to sandwiches or salads, or puree them into a handsome red pepper sauce.The following red pepper sauce recipe can be used with a simple pasta, or over fish, chicken or beef.Celebrate the red pepper. Provecho! Crab Cakes in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (Serves 4)1 cup bread crumbs 1 egg, beaten1/2 cup milk12 oz lump crab meat, remove shell fragmentsA handful cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped1 rib celery from the heart of the stalk, finely chopped1 Tbsp mayonnaise1 Tbsp mustardHot pepper sauce to taste Vegetable or canola oil, for frying Salt and pepper Place breadcrumbs in a bowl and make a well in the center of the crumbs. Beat the egg with milk and pour into the well. Moisten breadcrumbs and combine liquid with the crumbs using the tines of a fork.Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with salt and pepper to taste.Mix well and form into 8 (4-inch) patties. Add 1/2-inch vegetable or canola oil to a skillet and heat to medium temperature.Fry cakes 3 minutes on each side and drain on paper towel lined plate. Cook 4 cakes at a time, so that oil temp does not drop too low. Serve with the roasted red pepper sauce.Sauce:3 peeled and roasted red peppers1/3 cup olive oilHot pepper sauce to taste1 to 2 Tbsp heavy creamSalt and pepperPlace the peeled peppers, olive oil and a dash of hot sauce in a food processor.Puree until smooth. Add 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream and serve.Tips for Roasting Red Peppers:Cut red peppers lengthwise in half, clean out the seeds and stem and place on a baking sheet. Broil the red peppers in the oven until the skins are blackened. Place the broiled red peppers in a plastic bag, seal and let cool. Sealing the plastic bag with a couple of twists and a knot will allow the red peppers to sweat making it easier to remove the broiled skins. Once the red peppers are cooled, peel off the all the remaining skins. Serve on sandwiches, salads or puree into a sauce.Christa Yakel is a Dallas, Texas native who lives in Costa Rica with her culinary husband Rafael Calderón, a Costa Rican native and chef. Both love cooking.

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