Roasted red pepper paste

Roasted red pepper paste

Massa de pimentao

By
From
Lisbon
Makes
1 × 400 g jar
Photographer
Steven Joyce

Jars of this sit on every Portuguese pantry shelf and it is a key ingredient in dozens of dishes. It’s easy to buy in Lisbon, but quite hard to find outside the country. As it’s so simple to make and keeps well, I recommend making it, but you could also substitute any other ready-made roasted red pepper sauce, as long as it isn’t full of herbs; Turkish red pepper paste or Italian roasted pepper sauces are good options.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 red peppers, washed, halved, ribs and seeds removed, and cut into 3 cm- wide strips
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to grease

Method

  1. Place the pepper strips in a bowl with the salt and stir to ensure each piece comes into contact with the salt. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave for 36 hours to cure at room temperature, stirring once or twice.
  2. At the end of the curing period, the peppers will have released a lot of water. Discard this salty liquid and pat the peppers dry.
  3. Preheat the grill (broiler) to high. Grease a baking tray with oil, place the pepper strips on the tray, skin side up, and cook under the grill until they blister and blacken. Remove from the grill and place in a plastic freezer or sandwich bag. Seal and leave to steam and then cool. When completely cool, rub off the skins using your thumbs.
  4. Using a stick blender or food processor, purée the peppers along with the garlic and olive oil. Taste – it will be very salty but also moreishly sweet and garlicky.
  5. Thoroughly clean a heatproof jar (including the lid) in hot soapy water, then place the jar in a low oven for 15 minutes. Transfer the paste to the jar, seal and store in the fridge. The paste should last for a couple of weeks (pouring a thin layer of olive oil over the surface of the paste will help it keep for longer).
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