Monday, January 30, 2012

Not Your Typical Salad

I always need something sharp and fresh (like a salad or pickles) with my meal. It's probably because I grew up eating kimchi with every meal and I like the sharpness and acidity to cut the heaviness and greasiness of the other dishes.

I made a salad to go along with a mushroom risotto and tilapia (which I'll post on soon) and I like it because it's not your typical salad.

I started by making my own roasted bell pepper. I suggest you use a warm color pepper, i.e. yellow, orange, or red. Green bell peppers are crunchier and not as sweet so personally, I prefer those raw and not cooked.

To roast a bell pepper:








If you have a gas stove, then great! Follow these instructions:
  1. Turn on the flame medium high
  2. Char pepper on all sides until skin is blackened and blistered.
  3. Place pepper in a bowl and cover with saran wrap. This traps in the heat and helps to steam the pepper and make it easier to take off the skin. Leave the pepper alone for about 10 minutes.
  4. Rub off the charred skin. By now, the pepper should be cool enough to handle without scorching your fingers. I hold the pepper in between my hands and roll it back and forth to get most of the char off. Then I run it under the faucet to rinse it off.
  5. Split open and remove seeds and ribbing.
If you don't have a gas stove then you can roast the pepper in the broiler. Just set your oven to the highest temperature and put your pepper in the broiler. Keep an eye on it and every few minutes, as the skin starts to char, flip it over so it cooks evenly. Then pick up from step 3 and finish it off.

Once you've roasted your pepper, let it cool and start working on the rest of the salad. I'm not going to give quantities for this because it's a salad. Just make it as big or as small as you'd like.

I crumbled up some feta cheese and sliced up a few bocconcini (baby fresh mozzarella balls) and tossed in a few grape tomatoes. I'm not a huge tomato fan so I only added a few but by all means, add more if you like.
Then I rinsed up some sugar snap peas and basil.
I roughly chopped the basil into strips.
Then I added everything (basils, peas, and peppers) to the bowl (on top of the cheese and tomatoes).
To dress the salad, use some good balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Dress to coat - don't drown the salad, unless that's how you like it.
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper is nice as well.
Toss and serve. This salad is fresh, bright, and vibrant with lots of textures and tons of flavor and it's much more interesting and delicious than a boring tossed salad.

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