Sweet pepper and onion confit

pepper_onion_confit.jpg

This colorful, healthy yet tasty all-vegetable mixture is a great refrigerator staple for using in your bentos, and is very adaptable. Depending on the flavors you can add later, it can taste Italian, Japanese, Chinese, or whatever suits your needs.

It's a mixture of thinly siiced onions, sweet peppers and a little garlic, sautéed over a fairly low heat until it's quite limp. It's only seasoned with salt, so that it's fairly neutral. You can then turn it more Mediterranean by adding some basil and oregano for example, or Japanese by adding soy sauce, or add some oyster sauce.

Sweet pepper and onion confit

This makes about 2 to 3 cups, depending on how long you cook it. You can scale up the quantities if you want to make a big amount, though that will increase the cooking time.

  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 to 4 large sweet peppers (mixing red, yellow and green oneswill make it quite colorful)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • Salt (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. light olive oil or other fairly neutral oil

Slice the vegetables very thinly.

Heat up a large pan or heavy pot. (I usually make this in a 5 quart cast iron enamelled pot.) Put in the oil and the garlic. Add the vegetables. Sprinkle with some salt (the salt will help the vegetables exude moisture).

Cook over a medium low heat, stirring sometimes, for at least 10 minutes, up to about 30 minutes. The longer you cook it the the more intense and sweet and brown it gets. The shorter cooking time will yield a still crispy and nice vegetable sauté mix.

It keeps well covered in the refrigerator for about a week. You can freeze it too.

When you use it, you can add your cuisine-specific herb and flavorings if you like, though it's tasty as it is.

Variation: Add a thinly sliced fennel bulb for a slightly aniseedy version.

Just a few ideas for use:

  • Mixed with pasta
  • Heat up and add some cold rice; stir-fry for a quick vegetable fried rice. (No added oil needed since there's enough in the confit)
  • As an omelette filling - great for a Spanish omelette or tortilla
  • Wrap with rice paper
  • On a sandwich (e.g. feta or fresh goats cheese, the confit, and some arugula on a crusty roll)
  • Just tucked into a corner of your bento box!