I was first introduced to peperonata at a restaurant that used it as a topping for bruschetta. I then learned that peperonata is either served as a side dish or with sliced bread. I adapted an authentic, Italian (Sicilian) recipe to recreate the version that I had at the restaurant, so that I could serve it on top of toasted baguette slices for a party. If you prefer a more authentic version, cut the bell peppers into large chunks, add tomatoes, simmer longer, and allow it to be more liquidy.
Note: For a more authentic version, cut the peppers into large chunks and add some diced tomatoes after the vinegar has mostly evaporated. Then simmer until your desired consistency has been achieved.
5 or 6 large, sweet bell peppers in an assortment of red, orange, and yellow colours, cut into 1/2 – 3/4 inch-wide strips
1 large onion, cut in half and then into thick slices
1/8 to 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 or 2 cloves garlic, sliced
pinch of white granulated sugar
coarse sea or Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook until the onion starts to brown and soften. If necessary, reduce the heat to prevent the onion from burning. Then add the peppers and garlic. Cook until the peppers start to soften. Add the vinegar to taste, starting with 1/8 cup. Reduce the heat if necessary to simmer the peppers, uncovered, until the peppers are soft but not mushy and the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Taste test and add vinegar, salt, and pepper as needed. Also, if necessary, add a very small pinch of sugar to cut the acidity ever so slightly. Serve it hot, at room temperature, or cold. Serve this as a side dish, serve with sliced bread, or make an appetizer with it by placing it on top of toasted baguette slices.