Friday, April 20, 2007

Mediterranean Red Pepper Coulis

People go nuts over this sauce whenever I make it. It's fast, fresh, delicious, versatile, vegan friendly and about as heart-healthy as it gets.

We put it over roasted veggies, stir it into soups, dollop it on steaming bowls of stew, use it as a dip for crisp, raw veggies. If he's lucky enough to find some left over in the fridge, Mr CC puts it into his lunch tacos.

Recently, I used it in several ways: As a sauce for the as-yet-to-be-posted Stuffed Mexican Hat Pasta, and then again as a topping for the soup that was made from the left over Mexican Hat Pasta stuffing. Posts are coming soon.

I call this Mediterranean because the ingredients taste and smell like that warm, sunny region to me. And coulis is simply a more exotic French term for a fresh sauce. See my notes below for a few variations.

Mediterranean Red Pepper Sauce
Christine's original recipe
2 large red bell peppers, charred, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
fresh Italian parsley (optional)
fresh basil (optional)

Set the whole red peppers over a gas flame set on high and char until the skin is blackened and blistered all over, using tongs to turn them. You will know when the blistering begins because the skin will give a popping sound.
When charred, place the peppers into a paper bag, fold down the top and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Remove peppers from the bag and, using your fingers, push and peel the skin from the fruits. Do not put under running water to do this as you will wash away much of the flavor. It's okay for bits of charred skin to remain on the peppers, I think it gives them character.
Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove the seeds and veins.
Chop peppers coarsely and set aside.
Saute the onions in the 1 tablespoon of olive over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped garlic and stir for about a minute more.
If using the fresh herbs as I did for this recipe, chop them coarsely now.
Place the chopped bell peppers in a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times, just to break the peppers up.
Add the chopped herbs, the onion and garlic saute along with whatever oil has remained in the pan, and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
With the machine running, pour the 1/4 to 1/3 cup of olive oil through the feed tube in a small, steady stream, using enough oil to create a thick, smooth sauce.
Stop the machine and taste the sauce. Add salt if needed and pulse to incorporate. Add the lemon juice and process until incorporated.
Keep in a glass bowl or measuring cup. This can remain at room temperature for several hours but should be refrigerated if being kept longer.

Cook's Notes:

Here you can see another version of the sauce with no herbs. You would think character would be lost but it's not so. It's different and just as delicious.
Going south-of-the-border, you could make this sauce by substituting red onion for the sweet one and lime juice for the lemon.
Spice it up with charred, peeled jalapeno.
Leave out the garlic if you wish.
Don't saute anything. Just add it fresh to the food processor.
Add spices like cumin and corriander.
My preference is to keep it as simple as possible so the freshness of the ingredients shine.

Copyright © 2005-2007, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Looks good!

    Love the photo. So vivid.


  2. I love red pepper sauce but I have always cooked the pepper, not charred and peeled. I would guess the taste is much fresher.
    I'm going to try it your way next time I make it. I'll have to char them on the gas grill....or the big gas ring in the garage I use for canning....hmmmm

  3. Hmm...I don't think I can do this on a glass cooktop.

    But I am so intrigued!

  4. Hi Paz! I'll be over to your kitchen this weekend to see what you've been cooking up.

    Katie and Mimi,
    A gas, wood or charcoal grill would work just fine and the idea of charring peppers outdoors sounds wonderful. And Mimi, there's nothing quite like fresh peppers that have been charred and peeled.

  5. I'll have to remember this one, it looks tasty and would have all sorts of uses as you say.


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