Saturday, December 8, 2012

Italian Red Pepper Salad

     I threw some charcoal and fiery matches on the grill, and when the flames died down placed eight whole red peppers neatly in rows atop the grates.  Four times I turned them, lowering the grill cover, until there were black streaks all around and the peppers were soft.  Then, placing them in a paper bag, I waited for the heat to dissipate.  The skins slid off like leotards, and the cores came loose, like shoes.  I sliced the peppers longways and set them jewel-like on a white platter.  This dish is a stunning celebration of color.

     8 whole red peppers, charred, cored, peeled and sliced*
     1/4 cup olive oil
     2 cans anchovies in oil
     8 large garlic cloves, minced
     finely minced parsley or basil
     lemon zest from one lemon
     (Kalamata or black oil-cured olives)

     Place the peppers in an attractive pattern on the serving dish.
     Divide the anchovies among the peppers.
     Heat the olive oil and minced garlic in a skillet over low heat until the garlic is soft and the oil aromatic.  Do not brown the garlic.  Pour the garlic and oil over the peppers.
     Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley or garlic lightly over all.
     Garnish the platter with olives and capers, if desired.

     *If you use the heart-shaped cherry peppers for this recipe, you will have true pimientos.


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