Serving Up CSA: Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Tartlets
If you’re a CSA subscriber or a farmer’s market dilettante, you might notice that red bell peppers from the farm have flecks of green. Well, this isn’t always the case, but as a general rule, green bell peppers are often the unripe version of red ones. It takes quite a bit of time for bell peppers to reach their sweet and colorful stage and often enough they’re ripe and ready before they’ve turned absolutely red.
If you really want to get your learnin’ on, here’s how it works: You might have guessed that like many plants, all peppers are green to begin with (thanks, chlorophyll!). As the peppers mature and sugar is produced, other pigments begin to present themselves. We’ve known this, of course, for a very long time, but it wasn’t until about 30 years ago that peppers at stages other than green began to present themselves in the market. Red was first and red continues to be the most popular sweet variety (though yellow, orange, purple, chocolate are nothing to scoff at). Farmer’s markets and grocery stores alike are abound with red and green peppers thanks to adventurous shoppers and growers in the 1980s.
Alright, so to the recipe. This tartlet is pretty darn good and it works as a side, but this and a salad (cantaloupe and mint, yum!) was enough for me. A spiced tart crust, ricotta cheese, slow-caramelized onions, red bell peppers, and basil…. no matter what you do with those ingredients, it’s gonna be good.
Red Bell Pepper and Carmelized Onion Tartlets
- ¼ batch turmeric tart crust
- 2 small red bell peppers
- 1 large sweet onion
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sprig oregano
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp romano cheese
- 4 leaves basil, cut into strips
- Prepare tart crust. Once dough has rested for one hour, remove from fridge and divide into four. Roll each fourth out to a 1/8″ thickness, line tartlet dish and repeat. (You can roll the whole thing out and cut into four pieces, but this proved difficult for me as this pastry is prone to ripping.) Set aside in refrigerator as you prepare the filling.
- Set broiler to high. Cut bell peppers in half; remove seeds. Flatten and place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake until slightly charred on each side (about 10-15 minutes per side).
- Dice sweet onion. Place onion, oregano, and oil in a large frying pan and cook on medium until softened. Reduce heat to low; cover until onions begin to change color (about 20-30 minutes). Add garlic and increase heat to medium, cook uncovered until just browned. Remove sprig and set aside.
- When red pepper is sufficiently charred, remove from oven, let cool for one minute, then place in an airtight container for 10 minutes. When 10 minutes have passed, slice pepper into long strips; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425. Divide ricotta into four; line the bottom of each tart pan with cheese; sprinkle with romano, then basil, salt, and pepper. Layer with onions, then red pepper.
- Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes or until tart crust is browned. Let cool slightly and enjoy!