FAT-FREE CARAMELIZED PEPPERS AND ONIONS
We go through a process when sautéing without oil. It’s easy to caramelize if you follow the steps required. Expect perfection the first time!
Makes 4 side dishes or 4-6 sandwiches
2 jumbo green peppers, cored and cut into 4ths from end to end, then crosswise into 1/2 inch wide strips
4 med. size yellow onions, peeled, cut in half from end to end, then crosswise into 1/2 inch wide half rings
1 t. sea salt
fresh grind black pepper to taste
Liquid Spice for sautéing
1 or 2 T. Grade A maple syrup
Heat extra-large skillet over medium heat.
Add peppers and onion, salt and pepper.
Saute till veggies lose their hard edges.
Turn heat to medium-high to start the charring process. Char till light brown sporadically in places.
Squirt your Liquid Spice into the skillet – several squirts. Immediately cover the skillet with a lid and turn heat off. Let the veggies rest there for about 3 minutes.
Turn heat back on at medium. Stir veggies. Drizzle with 1-2 T. maple syrup. Stir to coat. Saute about 4 minutes longer till veggies are browned and soft.
Transfer to dish. Use as a side dish vegetable or as a topper for sandwiches.
Notes: Don’t overdo it on the maple syrup – just a tad of sweetness and coating on the veggies is what we need. If you don’t have maple syrup, use a little brown or raw sugar – just a little.
The texture of the peppers and onion absent the fat/oil breaks down quicker, suggesting that the oil tends to hold the product together longer.
The texture when chewing the final product is a little squeaky to the tooth. It’s not as smooth or as squishy as when cooked with oil. Since we usually team peppers and onions up with something else: a soft vegetable, on a sandwich, in a sauce, then this shouldn’t be an issue.
Absent the fat, the pepper and onion flavors are more distinct – less muted. In fact, I’ve noticed before that after adding fat to a recipe, the existing flavors became muted, requiring an adjustment in seasoning.
With no fat, expect the seasoning requirements to reduce.
Also expect the melding of multiple flavors that chefs strive for not to meld in the same way when fat is not introduced as a buffer in the dish. Maybe for better, maybe not. I don’t know yet.