Sunday, March 4, 2012

Taste of Home

My favorite part of coming over to my mom's house is that you never know what kind of food will be on the stove.  I have no idea what perceptions people have of what Guyanese vegetarians eat for dinner every night, but it certainly can't be what I walked into last night!

I was immediately greeted by the warm smokey smell of charred bell peppers, which made my mouth water just thinking of my mom's roasted peppers.  I don't care how much you pay at Whole Foods for a tiny jar - nothing beats the oily, vinegary, slightly smokey taste of freshly dressed peppers that have just come off the flame 20 minutes ago.
Garlicky, peppery, vinegary goodness!
I didn't know whether she was bulk roasting the peppers (since Sprouts had an amazing 3/$1 special on giant red bell peppers) or making just a few for dinner, but, thankfully, a quick look at the stove told me that it would be the latter.  In a big pan, Mom was sautéing zucchini and garlic and I thought that one of my favorites, pasta gagutz, was on the way.  However, the zucchini was cut in chunks (my favorite part of pasta gagutz is the thin, slightly crispy rounds of zucchini), and, having just bought my mom a mandolin, I tried to excuse my seeming brattiness by demonstrating how easy the device made cutting the zucchini "really thin!" (as my dad would shout from the living room).  

She indulged me and let me set up another pan on the stove so that I could duplicate the "something new" she was making with my thin slices of zucchini.  After those thin slices of heaven became golden brown and started to curl around the edges, I ground in a couple (okay, several) turns of black pepper, added the cooked linguine, and some minced black olives (straight from the can - no knife work needed) and capers.  
What would you add?  Kalamata olives?  Grilled eggplant?

I'll be honest - sorry, B - I took a few delicious forkfuls straight from the pan before being sent on my way with a steaming bowl of simple deliciousness, a container of roasted peppers, and two small loaves of ciabatta bread.  B was waiting at home because I was only over to drop the Bean home since some jerk had destroyed the whole driver's side of her car earlier that day by mashing it with his truck.  Normally I don't like to eat and run (and this is a dish you MUST eat hot, or else it just seems greasy), but when I walked in the door and B was moaning about what to make for dinner, it was all I could do not to squeal in excitement as I unloaded the delicious Mediterranean feast we had.

I added some of the oven-dried tomatoes I'd made earlier in the week as well as a good amount of parmesan cheese and a little drizzle of hot chili oil before reheating it (like I said, you MUST eat it hot).  This gave me time to slice open the ciabatta loaves and top them with slices of mozzarella cheese before sticking them under the broiler.  Throwing some roasted red peppers on top after taking them out of the oven completed the meal.  It was rustic, sophisticated, and comforting all at once.  So simple, but something that would certainly impress at a dinner party.
The creamy, broiled mozzarella is the perfect compliment to the acidity of the peppers.

I think some thin slices of mushroom would have been great in this dish as well, but that's the beauty of it - add whatever you want and toss!  I have no doubt that this would be exquisite with a bit of spicy salami or sausage if you have guests or a spouse who is always asking, "Where's the meat?"  You can make it all in one pan, and then separate it at the end and just let the oils of the meat infuse the dish.  If you use sausage, the fat left over from cooking it would be a great addition during the final toss.

καλή όρεξη!

No comments:

Post a Comment