Roasted Red Pepper Salad is among the most satisfying salads for my palate. It is all about the quality of the peppers and the way you roast and season them. Handpick the brightest red pepper you can find, grill them to perfection on a barbecue or over gas stove burner and season them generously with good olive oil and sea salt. The sweetness of the peppers, the smoky aftertaste left by the touch of fire, and the aromas of garlic, olive and thyme elevate this very simple salad into something really delicious.
6 large bright red, firm-fleshed bell peppers
2 garlic cloves,thinly sliced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper
a generous splash of good olive oil
Roast the peppers: The way you choose and roast the peppers is critical for the end result here. The brighter red the peppers, the sweeter they are. You need smoke, so roast the peppers either on a barbecue or directly over the flame of your gas stove burner. Roast until the skin is completely black but the pepper are still firm to the touch. Place the grilled peppers in a glass bowl, cover in tightly with plastic wrap and let them sweat until cool enough to be handled, this will make the peeling much easier.
Season the peppers: Remove the seeds and stems and generously sprinkle the inside of each pepper with sea salt. Arrange them in a shallow dish sprinkle the sliced garlic and the black pepper over the peppers and add a big splash of your best olive oil (quality sunflower oil also works very well for this salad). Finish your roasted red pepper salad with some fresh lemony thyme.
Serve: You can serve it immediately, but I find it tastes better if left to sit for 1/2 hour or so at room temperature to allow the salt to be absorbed and the garlic flavor to infuse the peppers.
Serve it cut over sliced country bread as a tapa. Or make it into a individual salad course by serving each pepper in a plate alongside a ball of mozzarella and a slice of toasted baguette.