Marinated Pepper Salad with Basil, Capers & Pecorino

September 2, 2014


Author Notes: This recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty and, true to Ottolenghi fashion, combines tons of fresh herbs and a variety of textures and flavors, all of which create a colorful and delectable salad. A few thoughts: After making this several times now, I've made a few ingredients optional because I find that there is still so much flavor when fewer herbs are present. So, feel free to keep it simple: Basil alone is delicious. Also, while I love Pecorino, which is the cheese Ottolenghi suggests using, sometimes I find it overpowering and a touch too salty (and I love salt). If you are sensitive to salt, something like Parmigiano Reggiano or Manchego or Drunken Goat (which I had on hand and worked great) are fine substitutions. Finally, if you have a preferred method for roasting peppers, go for it. I typically roast at higher temperatures than what is suggested here, and I prefer to cut the peppers in half rather than quarters, but I was surprised to have little difficulty peeling these peppers when they were not as charred as usual, and the peppers stayed meaty, while still being tender and juicy. The best peppers to roast are the ones that feel heavy in the hand — the thin-walled peppers are very difficult to peel and are best reserved for a different preparation.

Note: This recipe can very easily be scaled up. As the pictures show, I roasted a whole sheet pan of peppers and doubled the marinade for this quantity. These marinated peppers are a treat to have on hand — with a loaf of bread and a few shavings of cheese, you've got an impromptu party appetizer or a simple summer lunch.
Alexandra Stafford

Serves: 2 as a starter

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon muscovado sugar (regular is just 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 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup watercress or arugula or mixed greens
  • 2 ounces Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano or Manchego (see notes above), shaved
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Toss the peppers with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a little salt. Scatter them in a roasting pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until they soften and take on some color. Remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once cooled to room temperature, peel the peppers and cut into thin strips. Layer in a storage vessel, adding a light sprinkling of salt to each layer.
  2. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the oil, the balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, thyme (if using), garlic (if using) and some salt and pepper. Pour this over the peppers and leave aside for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
  3. To assemble the salad, toss together the herbs, greens, drained pepper strips, cheese and capers. Add more of the marinade as needed so that the greens are lightly coated. Toss, taste, adjust with more salt, pepper or marinade as needed.

More Great Recipes:
Salad|Vegetable|Capers|Pepper|Thyme|Vinegar|Basil|Summer|Fall|Vegetarian|Appetizer

Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Jerry K. September 10, 2014
I roast at 180 C for about 30 minutes. The skins are not charred but are very soft. This also works well with aubergines or eggplant or indeed courgettes. Sorry European!! Jerry.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 25, 2014
Thank you for the details, Jerry! I still have a ton of eggplant on hand, and I'm planning on roasting some this weekend with the balsamic and oil together — very excited. And no apologies! My dad is British, and I still giggle when he says torch, macintosh, boot.
 
Jerry K. September 9, 2014
I have used this technique for many years with slight variations. I never bother to remove the skin. I add the balsamic vinegar to the oil before roasting and then pour the warm oil/vinegar mix over the cooling peppers. It makes a wonderful dressing for baked fish or salad leafs. Jerry.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 9, 2014
Very interesting! Love the idea of roasting the peppers with the balsamic and then using the warm dressing. How long about do you roast and at what temperature? Do the skins get as charred as they are here? Thanks!
 
nycnomad September 8, 2014
I tried this yesterday and I must say…simply divine! I was inspired and roasted a pepper of every color I could find at the farmer's market. I left out the cheese (dairy issues boo) but I added instead, some grilled calamari. It was a fabulous compliment! Thank you for sharing such a delightful salad.
 
Author Comment
Alexandra S. September 8, 2014
So happy to hear this! Honestly, the cheese is unnecessary — I have made this salad in so many different ways now, and as long as the marinated peppers are present in some way, the salad will be good. LOVE the idea of grilled calamari. I don't make calamari enough, and it's one of my favorites. Trying this before the end of summer!