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Roasted Peppers and a Chickpea-Pepper Salad

June 27, 2011 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Roasted Peppers and a Chickpea-Pepper Salad

There was a sale on bell peppers last week and I indulged and bought some hefty red and yellow ones. Because they had waxed skins, I decided to char them and soften the flesh, something I often do because it makes them taste better and get silkier. This is something you may end up doing often. The process smells wonderful and your finished pepper can be used in so many ways— in a frittata, pasta, in salads, rolled up around ricotta cheese with a basil leaf – in a myriad of ways. Here they are with chickpeas and fresh herbs. Of course you can also buy them roasted and skinned, but if you want to do your own, here’s how:

Place whole peppers directly on a gas burner right in the flame. Turn them every few mintues with a pair of tongs until the skin becomes black all  over. When done, put them in a bowl, put a plate on top, and let them steam at least 15 minutes to loosen the skins.

When you go to clean them, reserve any juice that has collected in the bowl. (Concentrated and sweet, it makes a wonderful addition to vinaigrettes.) Next rub off the charred skins with your hand or a paper towel. Don’t worry about getting every little fleck. Although rinsing the peppers is faster, you'll wash away their good flavor, so try to be patient. If you can’t be, then use the tap. At this point you can put the peppers a covered dish and refrigerate for four or five days to use later. Again, be sure to save any juices..

Ingredients                                                                                     

2 large bell peppers, 1 red and 1 yellow, roasted and skinned (above)
1 15-ounce can organic chickpeas
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
8 kalamata olives
1 garlic clove
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano, marjoram, mixed
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

Preparation

Cut the roasted peppers into 1/2-inch strips then again crosswise, and put them in a large bowl with the chickpeas, capers, and olives. Pound the garlic in a mortar with ½ teaspoon salt (see the Glossary of Kitchen Equipment if you’re not sure about this), then, when smooth, add the herbs and pound them into a rough paste. (Or, if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, mince the garlic with the salt and  herbs.) Stir in the olive oil and vinegar and pour it over the peppers. Taste for salt and season with pepper. If there’s any reserved pepper juice, use it to replace some of the oil, and/or pour it over the dish when done.  Turn everything with a spatula and refrigerate.

To make this a main course salad, serve it heaped into lettuce, garnished with hard cooked eggs or slices of Manchego cheese. Will keep for several days.

Serves 4