Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Roasted Pepper Salad

Like zucchini just a short time ago, bell peppers are everywhere at the farmers' market and at rock-bottom prices to boot. While I really like bell peppers, I usually think of them as accoutrements to dishes instead of the star. I'll heap roasted peppers on sandwiches, pizzas, or quesadillas and stuff frittatas and omelets to capacity, but I'm ashamed that I've never made a dish that really focused on the peppers before. One could argue that stuffed peppers, which I've made countless times, are pepper-centric, but really, it's all about the stuffing. I've always preferred my peppers roasted and that task has become much simpler and quicker now that I have gas stove, making roasted pepper salad an obvious way to use up my pepper surplus. Roasting the peppers intensify their sweetness, that simple flavor played up beautifully by a balanced dressing and fresh herbs here. I was surprised by how much I liked this simple salad, which turned out to be much more than just a decent way to use up some peppers lingering in the fridge, and provides an excellent template for further experimentation with other vinegars and herbs. The perfect contrast between the fresh flavors of summer and roasted heartiness of fall, try this if you're at a loss as to what to do with your early fall pepper surplus.

Roasted Pepper Salad 
from Gourmet, via Epicurious
serves 4 to 6

2 lb mixed bell peppers, tender-roasted and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch- wide strips
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons capers in brine, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Toss together all ingredients and let stand, covered, 1 hour for flavors to develop.

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