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When I moved to the Bay Area to go to college, I got to know my mom’s cousin, Chris, who lived in
Aptos County just a few hours south. She had us to her farm, where she prepared a delicious meal of
fresh, simple food, cooked just right. I remember watching her cook this very dish. I peered over her
shoulder inquisitively and intently as she gently placed the peppers in the pan, rotated them, and
flipped them. She explained the importance of cooking the peppers over such low heat, saying, “I
want the sugars to caramelize.” Caramelization — the slow, steady transformation of sugars that
brings out the sweetness and rich flavor in all kinds of vegetables —  is one of the many cooking
techniques that highlight the inherent goodness of food. I thank Chris for this recipe and the many
other ways that she has inspired me over the years.

Yield: 4 servings as an appetizer

2 large red bell peppers
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3–4 ounces feta cheese, thinly sliced

1. Cut about {1/2} inch from the tip and tail of the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Slice the
peppers in half lengthwise and then cut each half into thirds or quarters, making relatively flat
2. Warm the oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the peppers and cook over low heat for 10 to 15
minutes on each side. This long, slow cooking allows the sugars in the peppers to caramelize. Try
not to let the peppers burn or even brown too much. If they start to brown or stick, reduce the heat
and add more oil if necessary. Flipping them periodically also helps slow the cooking process. When
they are done, the peppers should be cooked just enough to be soft and sweet throughout, but al
dente enough to hold their shape.

3. Transfer the pepper slices to a plate and toss with the garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt and black
pepper. Don’t use too much salt, as the feta is salty. Arrange the peppers faceup on the plate, placing
any bits of parsley and garlic left on the plate onto the pepper slices. Top each pepper with a thin
slice of feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from Recipes from the Herbalist's Kitchen, by Brittany Wood Nickerson,
copyright © 2017, published by Storey Publishing

This recipe was part of Tuesday Market’s 2017 Summer Chef Series 

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