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Shelves are overflowing with wonderful summer produce and the array of capsicums at the moment is a cornucopia of delight. I love them raw in salads, grilled, baked with various fillings or as I am doing today, confit of sweet peppers. The peppers taste superb if they are grilled on a barbecue, but as I don’t have the barbecue fired up, instead I am grilling them over the gas flame.
Confit vegetables are so wonderfully versatile. You can serve them as tapas, or as a topping on toasted country bread, they are absolutely gorgeous in pasta dishes, or serve them in salads. Today I eat them warm, stuffed into pita bread and topped with feta cheese.
The confit of peppers can be kept in their preserving oil in the fridge for about two weeks, presuming they last that long. To serve them warm, simply heat them under a grill or in a saucepan with a splash of the preserving oil.
Confit of summer fresh sweet peppers
500 g red peppers (or mixed colours if you wish)
600 ml light olive oil
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary, about 6 cm in length
2 garlic cloves sliced
1 tsp. peppercorns, lightly crushed
Rub the pepper all over with a light film of oil, and then grill them turning frequently until the skin is blackened and blistered all over. Then plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Remove and peel. Cut the peppers lengthways, remove the membrane and seeds and cut each half into two.
Heat the oil in a saucepan until very hot, but not smoking. Add the peppers, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, garlic and peppercorns. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the peppers to cool in the saucepan. Transfer the cooled peppers to a jar; pour in oil to cover, then seal. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.