I’m not going to tell you a long story about how it was inspired or where it came from because, well, I don’t have one. It was a case of “well this looks pretty; I have such and such in the pantry; this seems like it would work; oh, I could munch on some of those while I’m cooking” and I got this.
This mighty little mixture of rough chopped garlicky olives, blackened red bell pepper, pine nuts, parsley (and yes, you have to put them in – anchovies) has transformed itself into the number one condiment in my house. I’m going to start putting it on everything: omelettes for breakfast; hummus for lunch; crostini for cocktail apps; fish, chicken, steak, duck, roasted vegetables, anything for dinner. I had to stop myself from eating the entire bowl of it before dinner.
Mah tummy has a happy.
Persephone’s Favorite Relish
1 red bell pepper
6 large Greek green olives with garlic (good olives from your grocer’s olive bar, or plain pitted green olives and 1 clove of garlic grated)
3 anchovy fillets, minced (Please listen. No, don’t turn away. Come back. This dish is not going to taste like fish. You won’t know there are anchovies in it. But somehow, the flavor will be deeper, richer, more delicious. Not at all fishy. Trust.)
3 T pine nuts (buy them in the bulk section of your store if you can, they’re pricey)
3 T chopped fresh parsley
1 small sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 T olive oil
pepper (no salt)
Roast the Pepper – If you have a gas stove, take a pair of tongs and place the bell pepper directly on the burner. Turn the pepper periodically (don’t walk away from this, seriously) to blacken it evenly. Alternately, you could put it in a grill pan over high heat and do the same. Or chuck it in the oven on broil and keep an eye on it, turning regularly until the skin blisters and blackens. When the pepper is black, put it in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap or slide it into a ziploc. Let it sit for ten or fifteen minutes. When it has cooled, remove the stem and seed core and rub off all of the blackened skin. Give it a quick rinse under cool water to get the seeds and black off.
Chop the pepper and the rest of the ingredients together, drizzle with the olive oil. Rough chop for topping meats, finer chop for crostini. It’s all about how you want it to look. Taste for seasoning. You probably won’t need salt, the olives and anchovies should be enough.
Tonight I served this on top of a mixed grill of duck breast and sausage with Puy lentils that looked like minute green turtle shells.
Playlist included Are You Ready?, by Richard Ashcroft.