During the summer, cooking can become a bit of a challenge. For this reason, I like to prepare food in a quantity that I can enjoy at various times of the week.
One delightful and colorful recipe comes from Francis Lam that was recently reprinted by the New York Times. The recipe is for a melted pepper and ricotta toast.
This recipe is actually in two parts:
- Preparing the Melted Pepper
- Serving the Melted Pepper on Toast with Ricotta
Actually, the heavy-lifting – if you can call it that – comes before. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare the melted pepper spread which is essentially a combination of colorful red peppers and onions.
Once prepared, it will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Simply place the melted pepper spread over toast and add ricotta and fresh mint.
It is a savory and delightful treat.
Melted Pepper Ricotta Toast
Serving the Pepper Spread (See Below)
- 1 1/2- inch slice of country bread
- 3 to 4 tablespoons melted-pepper spread or to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese to taste
- Flaky salt
- Mint or basil leaves roughly torn, for garnish
Ingredients for Melted-Pepper-Spread
- 12 ounces onion about 2 medium
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 ½ pounds red bell peppers about 3 medium
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves about 6 sprigs
- 1 ½ teaspoons red-wine vinegar or to taste
Preparation of Melted Pepper Spread
- Slice the onions thinly, into 1/8-inch half-moons. (A food processor is great here, and you can reuse it for the peppers later.)
- Heat 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.
- Meanwhile, stem, seed and slice the peppers into 1/8-inch strips.
- When 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.
- After 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.
- After 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.