Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Red Bell Pepper Gel

Bell Peppers always look so happy at the market. Shiny and radiantly showing off their colors – red, yellow, orange, and green. Grilled with olive oil, sauteed with onions, juiced for vinaigrette dressings, and gelled –Yes, bell pepper gel! – these beauties are so versatile.

It's a great vegetarian condiment that works best with meaty heavy hitters like tacos and burgers. At the restaurant we used it as a garnish for a seared lamb chop dish (described in an earlier post). It'll taste nice swashed on a grilled steak. But, the gel works well with lighter fare too – try dotting it on a tomato and mozzarella salad.

It's also a fun way to sneak in a vegetable, especially when I'm cooking for someone who refuses anything from the produce section.

Red Bell Pepper Gel
6 Bell Peppers, stems and seeds removed
1.25 grams agar agar
salt to taste

What You'll Need:
Fine mesh strainer
Small pot
Squeeze bottle

1. Rough chop bell peppers and juice in blender

2. Strain. (Reserve the bell pepper pulp for goat cheese spread – recipe below.)

3. Reduce the juice by half using a low flame burner.

4) Using the scale, measure out 125 grams of juice. Return to heat.

5) Whisk in 1.25 grams agar agar. Bring mixture to boil. Then immediately remove from heat.

6) Refrigerate in a flat dish.

7) Once it completely solidifies, scoop bell pepper mixture into the blender. Add salt to taste. It will turn into a gel.

8) Move into a squeeze bottle. Serve.

Bell Pepper Cheese Spread

3 oz goat cheese or cream cheese
Red bell pepper pulp to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1) Soften goat or cream cheese in a medium bowl with a spoon

2) Mix in bell pepper pulp to taste

3) Crack some black pepper to taste. Serve.

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