I hadn’t started making roasted peppers until I learned how simple it is. Really, what you need is just an oven and aluminium foil. And peppers, of course. As for mayonnaise, after I got myself a blender last year (it took me so long to get myself one and now I really don’t know how I managed to live two whole years in Poland without!) I started making home-made mayo pretty often. If I can’t do anything about it being fat, at least when it’s home-made it’s fresh and has no preservatives, so if there is any positive outcome from eating mayo, at least having my own home-made one makes me feel less guilty while eating it.
Home-made mayonnaise is also a pretty easy thing to make once you’ve learnt the basics. It tastes so much better than commercial mayonnaise, mostly because it’s you who decides how much salt and lemon juice to put in it. Besides, one batch is just enough for one dinner, so at the end of the day you’re not left with an open jar in the fridge after you’ve satisfied your mayo cravings.
But first the peppers. Set the oven to 200°C, line an oven tray with alumimium foil (my tip is to layer several sheets, one per pepper) and place the peppers, whole, on the tray. No need to cut them or do anything else: just set the peppers on the tray and put them in the oven, in the middle of it so that they will not burn. Depending on the size of the peppers, the cooking time can be around 45 minutes to one hour. If they’re small-medium, they should be done in less than one hour, while if they’re large the cooking time could be a bit longer. What is important is that they get turned a few times during their stay in the oven. I usually set a timer and turn them every 10-15 minutes. I like to buy peppers with 4 tips on the bottom as they are slightly more stable and can be easily turned on 4 sides without rolling back. When you take them out of the oven they should look very wrinkled and the skin should look close to burnt in some points.
Now wrap each pepper in an aluminium foil sheet (hence my tip to have as many sheets ready as there are peppers, so you just slide the peppers and wrap them without moving them too much around). Careful because they’re hot and soft. Try not to pull them by the stem, as it might detach. Let them cool wrapped.
(I wasn’t even sure if this picture was much needed here, but it turned out too cool to leave it out so there you have it: roasted peppers wrapped in aluminium. Cute creatures.)
While the peppers are cooling down, it’s time to prepare the sauce. You can go down the easy road and get a jar of mayo. Or you can make your own mayonnaise, like I do. If you stick with me, get your hand mixer ready. This is what you will need:
- 1 egg
- about 200 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
Crack the egg in a tall container, dip the blender in and whip the egg by running the blender and moving it up and down. Keep this motion until the egg becomes a pale yellow and doubles in size. Still keeping this up and down motion, always with the mixer running, start adding the vegetable oil in a slow but continuous stream. The mixer keeps moving up and down, don’t stop now. Keep adding the oil until the mixture emulsifies. It may take some minutes, just don’t give up and keep a constant stream of oil flowing into the mixture. It may occur that more than 200 ml of oil are required, but it could as well emulsify before that amount is reached. As soon as the mixture thickens, you can stop the mixer. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Start the mixer again to blend in the condiment, and if needed add more lemon or more salt. If you mistakenly added too much salt or lemon, just add some more oil and blend it in always in this up and down motion. Your home-made mayo is ready!
To make enough tuna mayo to garnish two peppers I used about half of this batch (the other half became curry mayo for my Friday BBQ). I folded in a teaspoon of mustard, to give the mayo an extra kick. Then I added a medium-sized can of tuna (about 80g); I like to use tuna in oil, drained, but tuna in brine will also do. Mix the tuna just with a fork, in order to make the sauce turn out chunky, so that the taste of tuna will not be overwhelmed by the mayonnaise.
Now back to the little alluminium creatures sitting on your kitchen counter. Release the peppers from the wrap, cut them on one side, remove stem and seeds, and cut each pepper in three or four pieces. Remove the skin from every slice. If they have been long enough in the oven, the skin will come away very easily. Dab the skinned slices with some kitchen paper before garnishing. Lay the peppers on a plate and spread the tuna mayo evenly on top of every slice. As a finishing touch I like to add capers, that pair very well in taste both with the tuna and with the peppers.
This is a very easy and cheap thing to make, but extremely tasty. I like to make this as an appetizer when I have friends over for dinner. This recipe is the perfect compromise between feeding your guests something that looks pretty simple but that still required some effort if made entirely from scratch – so you can even pride yourself of your true dedication to home-made food, while serving nothing too fancy. My favourite way to start a dinner with friends.