It's bell pepper season at the farmers' market! With modern growing and transportation methods, bell peppers have become so ubiquitous as a year-round staple that most of us probably don't think about their natural growing cycles. However, bell peppers are actually a type of berry. Like all fruits, they're best enjoyed at the peak of their ripeness and freshness. Bell peppers become the most sweet and flavorful between July and November, which means that now is the perfect time to load up at your local farmer's market!
The optimal way to appreciate bell peppers in season is raw. However, if you intend to cook your bell peppers, you should pick a cooking method that preserves their natural sweetness and crispness. Stir-frying is ideal for this, since the short cooking time leaves the bell peppers close to their natural state. This basic recipe for Bell Pepper Beef Stir-fry is quick, easy, and delicious to make. It's a great meal on a hot summer day.
Bell Pepper Beef Stir-fry Recipe
1 Santouku, chef's knife, or Chinese cleaver
1 cutting board
1 large wok or frying pan
1 metal ladle or spatula
2-3 large bell peppers
1/2 lbs of flank steak
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of Chinese rice wine
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of salt
1 tbsp of vegetable oil (preferably rice bran)
Additional salt to taste
- Slice the flank steak into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch by 2-inch long strips. The grain of the steak should be perpendicular to each strip. Shorter muscle fibers will keep the meat tender and make it easier to chew.
- Mix the sugar, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and salt in a bowl. Thoroughly coat the steak with the mixture. Cover and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Do not let it sit for over an hour.
- Clean the bell peppers, removing the stems, caps, seeds, and other fibrous material. Slice the bell peppers into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch by 2-inch long strips.
- Clean and finely mince the shallot.
- Clean and finely mince the garlic.
Set your wok or frying pan over high heat. Allow to heat for several minutes. The cooking surface needs to be smoking hot.
Drizzle in the vegetable oil, then add the garlic and shallots. Stir briskly. You don't want them to burn.
Once the garlic and shallots have released their aroma and begin to color (15-30 seconds), add the marinated flank steak, reserving as much of the marinade in the bowl as possible.
Fry the steak until half cooked (~1 minutes), turning once or twice, and then add the bell pepper strips. Stir-fry briskly, drizzling in the remainder of the marinade, until the steak finishes cooking and the bell pepper pieces have softened slightly (~1-2 minutes). Don't overcook the bell peppers. They should still be crispy and juicy.
Add additional salt to taste if needed. Plate and serve immediately with lots of steamed rice.