Side Dishes

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Photo: New York Times

Martha Rose Shulman writes the Recipes for Health in The New York Times.  Her latest book is The Very Best of Recipes for Health, which is the next selection for the Good Food Cookbook Club.  She frequently turns side dishes into main dishes emphasizing vegetables.  Pepperonata is one such dish, a sauteed pepper dish that can be enhanced with a poached egg.

Peperonata (From The New York Times)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 plump garlic cloves, minced

3 large red peppers, or a combination of red and yellow peppers, thinly sliced or chopped

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained of some but not all of its juice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or heavy casserole over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes, and add the garlic and peppers. Cook, stirring often, for five minutes, and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook for another five minutes until the peppers are tender.

2. Add the tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring from time to time, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat, about 10 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer over low heat for another 15 to 20 minutes (or longer), stirring from time to time, until the mixture is thick and fragrant. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve as a side dish, as a topping for pizza, pasta, polenta, rice or bruschetta, as a filling for an omelet, or stir into scrambled eggs.