Friday, October 19, 2007
Roasted Romano Pepper Houmous
In 1912 in America, Mr.Wilbur Scoville devised the Scoville Hotness Scale. His human tasting panel measured the heat levels of different chilli peppers. Over the decades this has been refined in laboratories so that shoppers like me can stare at chilli pepper labels to see if they will merely scorch the tongue or incinerate it. I chose the mildest scoring red chilli pepper to team up with the completely innocuous red Romano peppers. These are long, narrow and bright red. Many of you have left comments about the bitter taste of bell pepper skin. So under a hot grill I blackened their skins. This was a tedious process. Every time I opened the oven door to check their progress the smoke set off the fire alarm. I had to run out of the kitchen with a mop handle to poke the reset button on the alarm. But there is something very satisfying about rubbing off the blackened skins under running water to reveal their sweet, succulent bright red flesh. I made Romano pepper houmous, using just half a red chilli pepper to add a hint of heat. This is optional but Freddie and Alex didn’t find it too hot. Mr Scoville’s Organoleptic Test hadn’t let us down. Back on the Naming and Shaming Fridge Freddie couldn’t quite bring himself to move peppers into the “I like” category. But he did score the houmous 9 out of 10. Prejudice is alive and well in the world of vegetables.
Romano Roasted Red Pepper Houmous
400g can of chickpeas, washed and drained
2-3 tbsp light tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
Half a mild red chilli pepper (this is optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of smoked paprika
180g red Romano peppers
Slice the Romano pepper in half, lengthways. Take out the seeds. Place the two halves, skins facing up on a flat baking tray under a medium hot grill. Allow the skins to blacken. You may need to move them around to make sure the process is even.
Take out and run under cold water. Wait until you can handle them and carefully rub off the blackened skins and rinse. Dry them well or the houmous will be sloppy in consistency. Take half a little red chilli pepper, deseed it and slice it. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas, tahini, lemon and lime juice, olive oil, peppers, red chilli pepper and a pinch of smoked paprika. When it is smooth, serve with flat breads or mini pitta.