It's the season of overflowing market bags, heavy CSA boxes, and gardens run amok. Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra Cooks is showing us how to store, prep, and make the most of the bounty, without wasting a scrap.
Today: How to store, prep, and make the most of the season's pepper crop, whether you have just a handful or you picked so many you should be called Peter Piper. Start with Yotam Ottolenghi's marinated pepper salad.
Imagine if we faced a wealth of glossy -- red! -- peppers every time we walked out to those raised beds. If only so many of us were not still waiting for our green-fruit laden plants to show any signs of ripening.
We can dream, but the good news is that Yotam Ottolenghi has come to the rescue. With just two peppers and a few other ingredients -- fresh basil, capers, mixed greens, and shaved Pecorino -- the master of vegetarian cooking has crafted a late-summer salad filled with texture and flavor. And despite the presence of a few strong characters (capers, Pecorino), the flavor of the peppers permeates every bite.
The trick is that the roasted peppers marinate for at least an hour in a mix of olive oil, balsamic, garlic, and thyme. During this time, the peppers not only absorb these flavors, but also infuse a smoky sweetness into the marinade, which ultimately becomes the dressing for the salad.
These roasted peppers can be used in countless ways, most simply with a loaf of crusty bread and a wedge of cheese. But the salad -- made with nearly equal parts herbs to greens, and laced with slivers of red, pops of green, and stark white cheese shavings throughout -- is stunning. And (with or without a bumper crop of peppers) can be on your table tonight.
To store your peppers, however many you have:
To cook your peppers:
Tell us: How do you love cooking with peppers?
Serves 2 as a starter
1 red bell pepper, quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon muscovado sugar (regular is fine)
2 thyme sprigs (optional)
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced (optional)
Black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, leaves picked (optional)
2/3 cups basil leaves
1 cup watercress or arugula or mixed greens
2 ounces Pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano, or Manchego, shaved
1 tablespoon drained capers
See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.
Photos by Alexandra Stafford
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now