I was looking for an easy, tasty recipe for an appetizer for my chicken marsala class I led yesterday. Looking through my La Cucina Italiana magazines, whose demise I am still mourning, and I will never throw them away, I found something wonderful. It was a red pepper salad which I decided to turn into something between a caponata and a tapenade by chopping up the red peppers and olives. It’s wonderful on little toasts and can be heated by adding some hot peppers. Once you have roasted your peppers and chopped them up it goes pretty fast.
Grilled Peppers with Capers, Olives and Herbs
About 40 minutes, 4 to 6 servings
2 large red bell peppers
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup kalamata olves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, preferably salt-packed, rinsed, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, then rinsed again. If you use the non-pareil, just rinse off the brine
5 leafy thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
You can grill your peppers, but I use the broiler, turning the peppers as they blacken and get soft. Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes. If you wish, you can use canned red peppers.
Pull skin off peppers, discard cores and seeds. Slice peppers into ¼” wide stripes and chop into smaller pieces.
For the lemon I use a zester to cut zest curls from the peel, avoiding the white pith. Put in a bowl with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, chopped peppers, oil, olives, capers, thyme, basil, and garlic. You can use less oil if you want, at your discretion. Let stand at room temperature or refrigerate overnight (serve at room temperature.) Season with salt just before serving on crostini or even crackers. Yum! Did I mention this is a pretty healthy snack?