Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Panzanella

A return to food! Oh how I've missed it. As it turns out, I like writing about food almost as much as eating it (living vicariously, nix the calories?). And last night I finally had it together enough early enough to try a recipe that I have been eyeing for a while now.

This salad came together pretty easily and quickly. I had roasted the peppers right after lunch and then let them sit until I was ready and that was perfect. Watching peppers roast is always one of those things that sounds so easy and effortless when I read about but it usually seems to takes longer than they say and I'm always afraid that if I turn by back they'll go from crisp and fresh to crisp and incinerated in seven seconds flat(not true). So if you feel you may have that tendency as well, I suggest the roasting happens early and leisurely.

4 large red or orange pepper
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 small onion thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh oregano and basil, chopped
1/2 loaf country style bread (I used my oatmeal molasses) torn into chunks
1 ounce thinly sliced soppressata
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces

Roasting the peppers:

Preheat the broiler. Rub the pepper all over with olive oil. Broil them until you've blacked the skin on four sides. You'll have to watch them and turn them a little more often as they warm up.
Transfer them to a large bowl and cover it with a plate. This will steam the peppers and loosen the skins for later. They can sit at room temp all afternoon, if need be.

When you're almost ready to eat:

Turn the over to 400 degrees.
Peel and seed the peppers. Cut them into 2 inch strips and toss them with onion, garlic, vinegar, half of your herbs, and about 4 tbsp. olive oil, in the same large bowl with some pepper juices left over.

Toss your bread chunks with a couple tbsp. olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast them for about 8 minutes, stirring them every now and them until they're crisped on the outside, but a little soft on the inside. Let them cool.

Now you can arrange everything on a platter. Toss the soppressata with your peppers and throw the cheese around haphazardly. If you like, you can out the croutons on first and pour all that pepper sauciness over them so that they absorb the flavor. Or you can arrange them amongst all the other ingredients to keep them crisp.

I served this with some pasta, soft boiled eggs, and sourdough.

Enjoy! If you tweek it your way let me know how it goes...

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