Friday, March 2, 2012

Red Pepper Coulis

A coulis is a great place to start making sauce if you have never made one before. It requires nothing other than a blender as far as equipment goes, and it usually doesn't require any cooking time either, though I think the best part of a good coulis is how the ingredients are handled. A coulis is essentially a strained puree, which gives it a extremely simple but very powerful flavor using whatever you make it from. Since we add no heat once it has been pureed, the integrity of the natural flavors in the food remain intact as well. In the end you are left with a sauce that exudes all the tastes and aroma of the natural ingredient in a sauce form.

Usually a coulis only requires that you blend and then strain. This works well for most soft fruits and vegetables such as berries or tomatoes. Red bell peppers are a whole other story though. Here we will roast them until blackened on the outside, then remove the skins, seeds, tops and pith. After they have been blended we strain as usual and then add our flavorings.

Like I said before, this is a really simple place to start making your own sauce at home. Making your own red pasta sauce is ten times more complicated than this (in my opinion) and the results will waver based on how well you perform on the stove. With the coulis all you need is some time to roast the peppers, a blender, and a good sieve. I am going to pair this with some vegetables tonight, but this also goes well with salmon or vegetarian dishes looking for a little more flavor. If you really want to go out on a limb, I suggest you try adding this to your store bought pasta sauce to cut down on the acidity of your red pasta meal.
Straining the coulis.
Red Pepper Coulis:
3 red bell peppers
3 to 4 tablespoons high quality olive oil
Salt, to taste

1. Roast the bell peppers under a broiler then let them cool to room temperature. Using a knife, remove the skins, seeds, tops, and pith from each pepper.
2. Place the peppers and olive oil in a blender and puree until smooth.
3. Pour the coulis through a sieve, and shake the sieve to remove the sauce from the solids.
4. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste, then reserve for future use.
Blending the coulis.

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