18 March 2010

Peter Piper's Peppers

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Who could eat the pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? Can you say that five times fast? No, I can't either. Neither can I pronounce the name of this gorgeous mix of vegetables: Ajvar.

When I saw the photos of Ajvar here, I knew it was something I would love. I wanted the recipe. I wanted to make this. I wanted to eat it till I had had enough of it. And I have to tell you that took a long time. This is delicious.

I’ve made this several times now. The last time I used three different colors of peppers. It was gorgeous. The colors of Spain. No, that’s not right--the colors of Catalonia. I roasted the peppers and eggplant and added some hot pepper oil that we keep in the cupboard. That’s all. Because I’m still limiting my wheat, I ate this on corn chips. With a salad, it made a lovely lunch.

This would make a very nice appetiser or aperitif for company. It would also be wonderful in a sandwich with some sliced chicken.

Instead of roasting the peppers and eggplant in a hot oven, I roasted them under the grill. I turned it up to “doomsday” and let ‘er rip. The skin on the peppers blistered and lifted up. The eggplant softened. When they were good and blistered (sort of like my skin at the beach) I put them in a paper sack till they had cooled. At that point it was very easy to remove the skin from the peppers. Doing it this way also spared my smoke detector.

I used a hot pepper oil in this because I like hot spicy things. We keep this in the kitchen. It’s easy to make: just crush up some dried chili peppers and put them in some good quality olive oil. Leave it for a few days and voila ! Hot pepper oil.


from Kate in the Kitchen

2-3 bell peppers

1-2 small eggplants

Hot pepper oil

Salt if you must

  • Pre-heat the broiler / grill of your oven.
  • Cut the peppers in sections, and remove the membranes and seeds. You want these segments to be fairly flat, so that the heat will reach them uniformly.
  • Remove the stem cap from the eggplants and cut them in half lengthwise. If you have a larger one, you might want to cut it in three or four slices.
  • Arrange the veggies on a baking sheet. The eggplants should be cut side up and the peppers should be skin side up. I used a non-stick baking sheet. If you don’t have one, you might want to line it with aluminum foil.
  • Slide the veggies under the grill and watch them closely. Mine took between 5 and 10 minutes to be done, depending on when I had remembered to turn on the grill. They’re done when the kitchen smells like heaven and the pepper skins are lifted and blackened.
  • Using whatever handy-dandy tong-like apparatus you have, put the veggies in a paper bag and close it up. Yes, they’re hot. Yes, there’s steam. Use the tongs and trust me, ok? Set aside to cool.
  • When they’re cool, take the pepper pieces out one at a time and remove the skin with a sharp knife. Usually you can just pull it off, but if the pepper curved under away from the heat you may have to scrape it a little. If it’s really stuck, don’t worry, just leave it. You won’t notice it.
  • When all the peppers are cleaned, put them on a big chopping board with the eggplants. Get your favorite big cheffy knife and chop away till it’s the texture you want.
  • Put it all in a big bowl and add some pepper oil. Taste and add salt if you want.

Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don't.


  • You can spray the cut surface of the eggplant with a little oil, but I found it didn’t make much difference--it got really crispy however I did it.
  • This can also be served with crackers or pita, of course.
  • This would be awesome on bruschetta. Thanks to Barbara for the idea!
  • Another great idea from Bob: baked in puff pastry cups as an appetiser. YOWza.
  • Susan suggested serving this over grilled cod. Carol would use grilled wild salmon. Either way, perfect.
  • Tossed with pasta! Of course. Thanks, Pam.
  • Linda suggested Pizza. DOH! Why didn't I think of that?
  • ...and Grace, a woman after my own heart, would eat this on a spoon. Oh, yeah. I'm there.


Barbara said...

Never heard of Ajvar, Kate. But I love the photo! Went to the other blog...hers looks more mushy than yours. Yours kept its shape better, which I like. Would be great on toasted pita or bruschetta wouldn't it?

Mama Feoneafey said...

I love your blog!
I have an award for you Here

La Table De Nana said...

I know I would love this..We just had the pepper compote..the addition of the eggplant in this is brilliant..:)It's something I really like..Thank you..And thank you for pointing me in the other direction also:) I like visiting pretty places~

Barbara said...

Kate: 4 sheets leaf gelatin = 1 envelope granulated gelatin = 1 tablespoon granulated gelatin

Someone asked me this before and I had written it down in notepad!

Kate at Serendipity said...

OOOh, Barbara! Bruschetta! I can't believe I didn't think of that. I've added it to the notes...thanks! And thanks for the gelatin conversion. I have two different sized sheets, though...

Monique, it's really luscious. I know you'll like it.

Mamma, I'm on my way!

Bob said...

I'm not a big eggplant fan, but I would so try that. I bet it would be wicked good baked in little puff pastry cups for an ap.

Pam said...

I am bookmarking this for when I am overrun with eggplant and peppers later!

Kate at Serendipity said...

Oh, Bob, YESSS. I've added that one too!

Kate said...

Ha- I love it! "Serves 4 if they like it, 10 if they don't"

Glad to hear it was a success. I still am dreaming about it, and need to make it again.

Susan @ The Spice Garden said...

I cannot wait until the summer's peppers and eggplant are stacking up on the counter! This will be such a fresh and wonderful addition to so many dishes! I'm thinking over the top of grilled cod, or scooped on flatbreads as a starter with some gorgeously cold white wine... I can practically taste summer!

Kate said...

This will be a great dish to make. Fresh...colorful...tasty!

The Gypsy Chef said...

Kate, you did it again! It looks wonderful.
Corn chips, bruschetta, little puff pastry cups all sound terrific. How about taking the leftovers and tossing them with pasta. In your case, artichoke pasta.
Beautiful! great Post!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This sounds like a wonderful recipe and I love the suggestions by your readers! Just don't ask me to pronounce it or the tongue twister ;)

Anh said...

This is new to me! Sound nice and I love peppers!

Silke said...

ooohh I fell in love with it just by its look alone. I am so gonna try this on some home baked pitabread. I just know I ll love it even more afterwards!

zurin said...

this looks so good!!!I want to make it:)

Kate at Serendipity said...

Thank you for your comments and for your suggestions. I love that this post is changing based on your comments. How cool is that?

Sophie said...

Now, this is something different!! A must try!

MMMMMMMMMM,...very tasty looking!

Thanks for visiting my blog that lead me to discover yours!!

Greetings from Brussels!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Bell peppers? Egg plant? I'm SOLD!

Carol at Serendipity said...


I am so behind (again). This recipe looks just wonderful. I would love this on grilled wild salmon.

Love your blog.


Bit of Butter said...

Yum! (And I love the last photo, by the way!)

Hungry Dog said...

This looks delicious. I wish my husband liked eggplant...although maybe that's not a bad thing--I could eat it all myself! Love the many different ideas for how to serve it.

Linda said...

Oh boy this sings summer to me...
and it would be fabulous on a pizza!
Your pics are gorgeous!
I will be making this soon...

grace said...

no chips required for this one--a spoon or my frisky fingers would work just fine. this is something i'd love, kate, all the way down to the use of the grill and the hot pepper oil. thanks for the introduction!

once in a blue moon... said...

hi kate wishing you safe travels, i have not been online for weeks since i live outdoors again, but you box is going out today, tell your friend to keep it in a cool place! happy travels to you!

Kim said...

I love the gorgeous colors of this recipe. I bet it is fun finding ways to use these peppers. They would go well with so many things!

Divina Pe said...

I would love to make this too. The colors are vibrant and there are many ways we can do with this.

A Canadian Foodie said...

I left her a message - Kate in the Kitchen - but didn't tell her this. Usually, the roasted peppers are put through a meat grinder before they are cooked over the stove. But, I am sure what you are making is delicious, too.