|"Stoplight" peppers--red, yellow, green.|
I was making meat loaf for dinner and wanted a sauce or side to go with it. Not gravy, thank you very much. I’m not a gravy person. And not mushroom sauce, because my version of meatloaf includes mushrooms in the mix. I settled on roasted semáforo peppers—part side dish, part sauce, a little bit relish.
Marketed in threes, these peppers are called semáforo, or stoplight, for their red, yellow and green stop-and-go colors. Their bright colors and zesty flavors make them a perfect accompaniment to autumn.
Roasted pepper salad is a favorite in tapa bars. It’s also popular served alongside fried and grilled fish. It’s a terrific topping for pizza or the Catalan version, coca. The peppers are a perfect foil for grilled entrecôte (steak). Scramble the peppers with eggs for a pipérade. Use them as sandwich filling.
|Roasted peppers make a zesty sauce for chicken meatloaf with mushrooms.|
|Heap peppers on toasts and top with anchovies.|
|The perfect meatloaf sandwich--thick slice of meatloaf, toasted bun with a little mayo and lots of roasted peppers.|
The peppers are oven-roasted and need almost an hour in a moderate oven. They won’t char, as they do on a wood fire, but the skins will loosen and the flesh will become soft. They can be finished after peeling or, as in this recipe, sautéd in olive oil with garlic.
Use all red or mixed color peppers.
4-5 small bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced crosswise
Chile, to taste
¼ teaspoon Sherry vinegar
Chopped scallions (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange the peppers in an oven pan and place it in the oven. After 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 350ºF.
|Oven-roasted peppers don't char, but skins come off easily.|
Roast the peppers, turning them over every 15 minutes, until they are soft and the skin has visibly loosened from the flesh, about 45 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the oven and cover the peppers with a cloth. Allow to stand 10 minutes.
|Peel off skin, discard seeds.|
Meat Loaf, My Way
Rollo de Carne de Pollo
Meatloaf, as I knew it growing up in the Midwest, was an economical family meal of ground beef. It doesn’t really exist in Spanish cooking. There are meat versions of brazo gitano (gypsy’s arm), with fillings of ham, cheese, cooked egg, and extra-large meatballs such as the relleno that cooks in a cocido. But plebian meatloaf, no.
My version is not how my mother made meatloaf. I usually use ground chicken thighs, never beef. And I tend to add Spanish flavors such as olive oil, pimentón, garlic, capers. I like to add a spoonful of Asian fish sauce too--it contributes umami. If not using it, you may need to increase the amount of salt in the recipe.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrot
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms (6 ounces)
½ teaspoon smoked pimentón (paprika)
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dry Sherry
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce (optional)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 ¾ pounds ground chicken thighs
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon drained capers
Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, celery, carrot and garlic until onions are beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue sautéing until mushroooms are softened, 5 minutes more. Add the pimentón, thyme and fennel. Add the Sherry and cook off the alcohol. Add the fish sauce, if using. Stir in the bread crumbs. Remove the pan from the heat and add the parsley.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Lightly oil an oven pan.
In a bowl mix the ground chicken with salt and pepper. Add the onion-mushroom mixture and the capers. Mix thoroughly. Shape the meat into a compact loaf and place it in the oven pan.
Place in the oven. After 10 minutes, lower oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake until meat tests done (160ºF), about 45 minutes longer.
More meatloaf recipes: