Friday, 26 June 2015

Grilled pepper salad with capers, olives and lemon

Grilled pepper salad with capers, olives and lemon

When summer arrives and temperatures start to rise (even though, honestly, where I live temperatures are pretty high all over the year) we all prefer light and refreshing food, and also do not want to spend much time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Salads are a perfect solution for summer lunches and dinners: they can be served as a starter, as a side dish or even as a complete meal just by mixing up a balanced combination of tasty and nutritious ingredients.

And also salads do not necessarily have to be made with greens and leaves: many vegetables, raw and/or cooked, make great salads, with just few additional matching ingredients and the right dressing.
Like in the case of this grilled peppers salad with capers, olives and lemon, a tribute to Mediterranean colors and flavors. Quick and easy to prepare, it will make a good impression in several occasions: it can be a tasty solution for a family lunch along with some mozzarella or another fresh cheese and some bread to soak up all its tasty juices, and will be perfect also as a side dish for grilled meat or fish; but it will also go well in a spread of appetizers in a more formal dinner. As it keeps well, you can bring it with you in your lunch-box as well as for a picnic or a lunch on the beach. And if you have some leftover, use to make a rustic sandwich with sourdough bread (or another firm and crusty bread) and a slice of cheese (like scamorza or a fresh pecorino cheese).

As for the preparation, the recipe is really simple but has to be made at least two hours before serving to give time to all the flavors to amalgamate. All you need to do is grill a couple of red peppers (on a grill or under the broiler of your oven), peel and cut them and let marinade for few hours with the other ingredients: black olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice and peel, herbs, and plenty of olive oil.
Peppers are the protagonist in this recipe, so they have to be ripe, firm and tasty. This means they have to be in season, fresh and possibly locally grown: this is a general rule when it comes to fruits and vegetables, but it's even more true when they are eaten on their own or prepared in a simple way.
Grilled pepper salad with capers, olives and lemon

Grilled pepper salad with capers, olives and lemon
serves 4
2 large red pepper
100 g black olives, pitted and sliced
20 g salted capers, soaked in water for one hour
2 garlic cloves
skin and juice of 1/2 lemon
oregano (or thyme)
extra virgin olive oil
Grill the peppers under the broiler or on a grill, turning from time to time, until the skin is brown and the vegetables are cooked. Wrap in aluminum foil until cooled down, then peel and cut into strips about 1,5 cm thick.
Add the peppers in a bowl along with the garlic, peeled and cut into chunks, capers, olives, juice and skin of half lemon. Flavor with some basil leaves and oregano, add 3 - 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, mix and let marinade for at least 2 hours.
Before serving remove the garlic and lemon peel, adjust the salt and add few more basil leaves to garnish.

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