This Provençal dish from the south of France is a classic that is surprisingly easy to replicate. These Slow Roasted & Savory Sweet Peppers fill your kitchen with the lingering aromas of the south of France — way before your meal. And happily, for hours after.
Easy to re-heat on the rare occasion there are any leftovers, the secret is caramelization.
My grandmother used to call this dish Poivron Doux Nus. The translation is “Naked Peppers” because you do so little to them to prepare them I suppose. You just let the heat of your oven do all the work. But I have often seen this dish called Poivrons Doux Provençale because it is widely served in the Provence region of southern France. And because of that, it always pairs well with a Provençale Rosé.
Remember, if you pair food and wine from the same region you can never go wrong. So when you serve a regional dish like this one, it’s always wise to serve a wine from that region when possible.
Here’s a pairing secret.
You don’t always pair the wine only to the main course. Let’s say you add these peppers as a side dish to a roasted chicken dish. You probably want to serve a white wine or maybe a Rosé. If you were serving it with Braised Beef, you might normally think of a deeper, fuller red or a Beaujolais. But instead of pairing to the chicken or the beef, pair to the side. Any time you have a strong regional dish like these sweet peppers, pairing to the side rather than to the main works beautifully.
This side-pairing rule is true even with an unexpected pairing like Rosé with beef — which, by the way, French do a lot more often than you may expect. A good Rosé pretty much goes with everything.
I have to admit I can’t help but chuckle every time I prepare this dish because I’m pretty sure my grandmother’s French name for this dish was part of her sense of humor. And in retrospect, I feel certain she stuck to her name for it in French to be sure not to say the word “naked” in front of children.
This dish has no fancy sauces. Just the natural sweetness of the produce. That’s why fresh and in-season are important.
The French know all taste starts with the best ingredients.
And in this dish, the sweet peppers and the onions are the stars. So be sure to pick really great produce because there is nowhere to hide in this dish. Pure and naked.
The recipe is given for an indoor oven. But if you happen to be grilling in your yard or barbecuing with a smoker, the recipe is easy to adapt to outdoors cooking. You simply lightly char the onions and peppers on your grill at the beginning of your cooking. Then wrap them in aluminum foil and let them smoke, with the lid down if you have a smoker. The outdoor version results in a darker and smokier taste that is equally delicious to the oven roasted version.
Bell peppers range from semi-tart to semi-sweet moving from green, to yellow, to orange, to red. Green is the most tart. Red is the most sweet.
It is always best to use the freshest local produce you can find, preferably organically grown.
Onions are on the 2020 list of the Clean 15, so it is less important to use organic onions than to use organic peppers.
You can use any oil you wish in this dish, but our favorite is Roasted Walnut Oil. Grapeseed Oil or a good quality Olive Oil work well, too. This is a dish that reflects the quality and flavor of the oil greatly.
You can see also that we opt for French Sea Salt rather than Pink Himalayan. Part of that choice is environmental (world demand is depleting salt reserves in the Himalayas significantly). But part of our choice is that we think from a health standpoint it is best to vary the kinds of sea salt in your diet. Each salt origin has unique trace minerals. We lean to as well-rounded a diet as possible so we like to switch up our salt.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this dish isn’t good because it is simple. It is exactly that simplicity that makes it a knockout.
- Au Gratin or Heavy Baking Dish
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Use Convection Roast or Roast setting if you have one.
- Slice Peppers and remove seeds. Slice Onions thinly in long strips. Mix yellow, orange, and red peppers (the sweetest ones) or use just one color if that is what you have. Just remember the red are the sweetest, so if you can include at least one red pepper the dish will turn out better. You can vary the number of peppers as long as you increase the onion ratio to match.
- Gently toss the peppers and onions in a medium bowl with the oil, salt, and pepper.
- Please the peppers in an au gratin or other heavy baking dish and pour any remaining oil mixture over the top. Lightly drizzle a bit more of the oil on top.
- Place dish in oven for about 20 minutes. Check at 15. If you have enlarged the recipe, it make take 25. You are looking for golden brown caramelizsation on the edge of the peppers. Trust your nose and your eyes more than the clock.
Otherwise, our favorite Olive Oil is this Keros Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil that is imported from Greece from a company called Keros (available on Amazon). It is from an old olive grove that is considered “ancient” — even by Greek standards. With olives, the age of the trees really does make a difference in the flavor. This is pricey, but go in with a friend or two if you not are a high volume user. Believe me, when you taste it, particularly in a “naked” dish like this, you will see why we recommend it.
Opt for the large can if possible when you are buying Olive Oil. It has seen less light (thus is less degraded and fresher) and it is more likely to be high quality oil than if it is sold in a glass or plastic bottle.
And for wine pairing, no matter what main course you add these wonderful peppers to, we strongly recommend the La Grand Vigne Rosé Coteaux Varois. You can read our review of it here.