My favorite produce store is Fruitical in Saint-Bruno. It’s about a 30 kilometre round-trip from chez nous, but since Fruitical is just around the corner from Martine’s sister and family, it is, fortunately, quite easy to justify the trip. (As if the freshness and variety of the produce were not enough!)
On Sunday, we found a new kind of red pepper there — at least new to me. They came four to a package for $4.99, which makes them a little bit expensive but not over the top. Each pepper is long and pointy like a cubanelle, but larger — averaging about seven inches each, and red.
They were labeled as "Sweet Selects," hydroponically grown in Quebec. There was a sticker on the package that indicated they are ideal for grilling, so I bought some.
The weather today was gorgeous, so naturally I planned a barbecue for dinner.
I grilled the peppers whole, while simultaneously preparing a barbecue sauce for the chicken. The sauce consisted of the following ingredients:
– a squirt of ketchup;
– a splork of tomato paste;
– a scrape of brown sugar;
– a couple of squashes of lime juice;
– a skloik or two of cayenne pepper sauce;
– two small chunks of chipotle pepper;
– a couple of smashed and mashed cloves of garlic;
– a couple of slugs of Jack Daniels
bourbon sour mash whiskey.
… all bubbled together for about 15 minutes.
The peppers grilled very nicely, as if they were made for that purpose. The skins blackened and loosened evenly, and they retained a lot of succulent moisture. When they were done I dropped them into a paper bag for ten minutes while I pounded the chicken breasts to flatten them out for even cooking.
When the peppers came out of the bag I was ready for the usual fight — some parts of the skin falls right off while other parts cling stubbornly. Not so with these peppers. The skins slid right off the wet and slippery flesh in one piece, like… well, use your imagination.
They had hardly any seeds or membrane, so it was just a quick swipe of the knife, a few longitudinal cuts, a squirt of balsamic vinegar glaze, a toss, and voila! A lovely pile of super-tasty grilled (roasted?) red peppers.
The rest of the meal involved grilling the flattened (and salted and peppered) chicken breasts and brushing them with the barbecue sauce just before they were finished, while some thick slices of zucchini grilled alongside. Pushed off to the back was a foil pouch of asparagus (with butter, pepper, and lime juice).
Everything came together perfectly. The chicken was moist and zingy, and the zucchini was soft yet toothsome. Even the asparagus was done just right.
But those peppers! They were so sweet! Almost too sweet — Martine said it was like eating candy.
Hopefully, they won’t be hard to find again. They prepare so easily and taste great so I’ll want to have them again. Next time I’ll use straight balsamic vinegar (and a drop of olive oil), because that will make a lovely contrast with the pepper’s natural sweetness. Needless to say, we ate all four of them.