Recipe: Charred Pepper Salad
I stumbled across this recipe last week mainly, I think, because I was looking for something that used Quinoa. I’d never used or eaten Quinoa, practically never heard of it before a WandaS post that featured it (there have been a couple), so I was curious and wanted to try it myself.
The dressing couldn’t be easier. I guess I’m either getting lazy or confident, but instead of running to the grocery store to get “red wine vinegar”, which I didn’t have, I decided “Champagne wine vinegar” was a legal substitute because well, wine is wine when it turns into vinegar. I did specifically buy “smoked paprika” (although not Spanish Smoked Paprika, because I couldn’t find it) since even a lazy cook knows there is a big difference between anything smoked and anything not smoked. Whisk the ingredients together and set aside. (yes, it does taste better if you use a baby’s cereal bowl)
If you’ve never done it before, you’ll have to trust me on the pepper roasting/charring here. It’s a simple procedure to just broil these bad boys for 20 minutes, turning them 1/4 turn every five minutes. By that last turn though, you’re going to worry that it has turned into a burnt, black, mess. Mostly because it will look like a burnt, black, mess.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and the peppers to a plate to cool. When they’re cool, remove the stems and seeds by hand. Do not rinse these under running water while you’re doing it because you’ll wash away a lot of the flavor. After you’ve stemmed and seeded the peppers, slice them into thin strips (I actually chopped the strips into thirds, creating a large-ish dice) and put them all in your serving bowl/dish. Notice that I didn’t say “remove charred peel”? That’s right, it goes along.
Combine all the ingredients except the dressing in your serving dish and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the dressing and stir to combine. This is called a “salad” in the recipe, and I guess you could treat it as such and use it as-is as a side dish. We served it with some pita bread and sliced cherry tomatoes as a light main dish, filling half-pitas with the mixture and adding a few tomatoes. It was delicious! The bits of charred pepper peel really add dimension to the flavor and texture.
We had about half of the mixture left over after the two of us ate our fill. I’m saving it, covered, in the refrigerator and will bring it out again in 2 days to act as a bruschetta topping on toasted slices of bread as an appetizer. I expect the two days of flavor blending will make this an awesome appetizer.
Rating: I give it 4 out of 5 wine glasses as a main dish, but I fully expect it to rate a 5 as an appetizer in two days.
Two days later, I did indeed use the leftover “salad” as the topping for bruschetta and It. Was. Awesome. So awesome, that I now recommend you make this a day or so in advance of whenever you’re actually going to serve it, whether you serve it as a salad or as an appetizer, and store it covered in the refrigerator to let the flavors mix and mature. It makes a tasty dish even moreso.
Charred Pepper Salad
By February 21, 2012Published:
- Yield: 4-5 Servings
- Prep: 25 mins
- Cook: 45 mins
- Ready In: 1 hr 10 mins
a side dish or a full meal
- 2 cups Quinoa or Couscous cooked
- 4 red bell peppers
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/3 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 T smoked paprika
- 1 T kosher salt
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, and salt.
- Turn your oven to broil. place jalapenos and bell peppers on a cookie sheet in the oven to roast for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until charred all over. Remove to cool. When cool, remove the seeds and stems and slice into thin strips.
- Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve.
- Prepare Quinoa or couscous according to package instructions.
- In a serving dish or bowl, combine all ingredients except dressing, mix well. Add dressing and mix again. Serve immediately as a salad (with halved cherry tomatoes) or as an appetizer with pita chips,etc.