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Something Different
Week of: August 16, 2010
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Roasted Red Peppers at Any Meal

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

The abundance of sweet red peppers this summer has lured me to discover how versatile they can be, especially when roasted. In Italy, I have learned to enjoy them as a first course, either as part of an antipasto spread, served simply with just a crisscrossing of anchovies, or even alone, sprinkled with chopped parsley and a touch of lemon juice.

Also, an Italian neighbor here simmers a chopped roasted red pepper in her pasta sauce, where it adds an indefinable depth. She also makes a crunchy salad combining roasted red pepper strips with chopped cauliflower, sliced celery, mushrooms and thin disks of zucchini, all tossed with a zingy red wine vinaigrette seasoned with oregano. Give this a try next time you need a partner for canned tuna.

Since roasted fresh peppers keep for only a few days, I have been playing with other ways to use them, including finely chopping and adding them to tabbouleh. The roasted peppers sold in jars have a completely different taste and texture, but can be used in place of freshly roasted ones in this way, too.

Both home-roasted and jarred peppers also work in this colorful wrap, which includes thin strips of roasted pepper, plus the Mediterranean flavors of Parmesan cheese and spicy harissa, along with a thin egg pancake.

Red Pepper Wrap

Egg and Roasted Red Pepper Wrap

  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. each dried basil, oregano and thyme
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. harissa, or to taste
  • 1 low-fat whole-wheat wrapper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place pepper, cut side down, on foil-covered baking sheet. Bake until skin is puffed and blistered, 20-30 minutes. Transfer pepper to bowl, cover with plate, and let steam for 20 minutes. Pull off skin from pepper, using your fingers or small knife.

Place pepper on plate. Sprinkle with salt and dried herbs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

In bowl, whisk egg and egg white together until well blended. Coat 8-inch skillet with cooking spray, and set over medium-high heat. Add egg, tilting to coat bottom of pan, and cook until egg is set, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle on cheese and parsley, and cook until surface of omelet looks dull, 2-3 minutes. Slide flat omelet onto plate and set aside.

In small bowl, combine ricotta and harissa. Blot roasted pepper dry using paper towel, and cut pepper into very thin strips.

To assemble wrap, spread ricotta mixture over wrapper, leaving 1/2–inch uncovered around edges. Slide omelet onto wrapper, positioning it near one end. With narrow end of wrapper toward you, arrange 8-10 pepper strips horizontally on top of egg, and starting at end near you, tightly roll up wrapper. Cut rolled wrap diagonally into 3 pieces and serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

Per serving: 330 calories, 11 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 34 g carbohydrate,
20 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 420 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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