Grilled Pepper & Tomato Salad ♥ A Reader Recipe

Today's vegetable recipe comes from a reader: Familiar tomatoes and familiar peppers combined in a salad that somehow manages to turn out entirely different. Low carb. Weight Watchers 2 points.

Sold! It took about 10 seconds to buy into this recipe, sent by a reader just last week. Here's what Laurie B. wrote about her salad recipe that combines roasted peppers (bell peppers and hot chilis both) and roasted tomatoes:

"It hits all my flavor sensors - heat, salt and garlic, well, tomatoes, peppers and onions. Oh wait, that's the recipe, isn't it?!"

She went on. "It's easy to throw together and is so much more than its parts. I got the recipe from a neighbor (she said it was her mother's recipe) when it was served at their son's graduation party. I've never had anything like it and I'll bet I've made it a dozen times since then. We were taking a big bowl of it to a party and I asked my husband to taste a bit; he ate almost half of it and I didn't have enough for the party! I guess he liked it."

And that's been the reaction in my circle too. At a birthday supper on Sunday, with a buffetful of fresh summer food to remark upon, the first praise emerged with the first bite, "These peppers are GOOD." (Thanks, Brad!) Later, the one dish I was asked about? The grilled peppers and tomatoes.

I'll close with Laurie's words. "I sure hope you enjoy this. We sure have." Ditto! Thank you, Laurie for sending this recipe, it's perfect for A Veggie Venture.

GRILLED PEPPER & TOMATO SALAD RECIPE

Hands-on time: 15 'inside' minutes + 'grilling' time
Time to table: 45 minutes (can be prepped ahead)
Serves as many as needed

PEPPERS & TOMATOES
Peppers - a mix of bell peppers (red and green, say) and hot peppers (poblanos and serranos, jalapeños and Anaheim peppers, say)
Tomatoes - preferably something meaty like a Roma tomato

SALAD
Garlic & kosher salt
Onion - chopped into thin lengths
Red wine vinegar
Good olive oil
Plenty of kosher salt

PEPPERS & TOMATOES Trim the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes to discard. Cut into quarter or halves, press with the back of your hand to flatten. Grill the peppers and tomatoes skin-sides down until the skins blacken and blister all over. Leave the skins on (they provide great flavor) and let cool. (Stop here if prepping ahead.) Chop both the tomatoes and peppers into rough pieces, one-inch pieces or lengths for a side dish, or into tiny bites for a salsa.

SALAD Mash the garlic and salt into a paste by chopping the garlic as fine as possible with a knife, then mashing the pieces into the salt with the side of a knife; stir into the peppers and tomatoes and onions. (This way, says Laurie, "No one eats raw garlic and it sort of melts into the salad.") Gently splash with equivalent volumes of vinegar and olive oil. Now get salty -- stir in salt, tasting after each addition, it should taste a little salty so that later, when the juices flow from the peppers and tomatoes. If the peppers and tomatoes don't taste that good, it's likely because the dish needs more salt.


KITCHEN NOTES
I'm not giving quantities because this salad so easily adapts to small and large quantities. Still, some guidance may be helpful. For a dozen large Roma tomatoes and 5 large peppers, I used 1/2 a white onion, 3 large garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons, Laurie writes, "it should taste like a salted tomato" and suggest 2 - 3 tablespoons) of kosher salt, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
You'll want roughly equivalent amounts of tomatoes and peppers.
I think it would work just fine to oven-roast both the peppers and tomatoes, see the technique used in Oven-Roasted Peppers.
For tomatoes, I used Romas because they're meatier (and as importantly, less juicy) but Laurie says she's used Romas and garden tomatoes both, even supermarket tomatoes that don't look so ripe.
For peppers, don't worry if you want to err on the side of bell peppers. I did too, using 2 green peppers and 2 red peppers with only 1 poblano pepper and one small hot red chili. A little bit of heat is good, it creates another layer of flavor.
BURN, BABY, BURN At every turn this summer, we're putting a little burn -- intentionally! -- on everything from meat to vegetables to fruit. (Is it the Seven Fires effect?) The 'burn' adds so much flavor, that's why the skins are left on when assembling the salad.
The salad is good the next day but does get juicier after sitting.
The photo was taken three days after the salad was made. When I compare this shot with the ones taken when it was made, the peppers, tomatoes and onion all look 'fresh' (even though roasted) rather than dark and almost pickled. It's very pretty, I just didn't get good pictures!
ABOUT PEPPERS & PRICES Red, yellow and orange bell peppers from the supermarket have become so expensive, $1.50 and even more apiece. But for the next few weeks, from early August and well into September, peppers at the farmers market will be plentiful and cheap, both. They'll likely have thinner skins than the ones from the supermarket but they'll be fresh and luscious, whether eaten raw or like here, roasted. If ever there's a time to gorge on peppers, it's now.



This recipe for Grilled Pepper & Tomato Salad is so easy to memorize, so memorable to eat, that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes being published all summer long in 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!


JUST LOOK HOW MANY RECIPES
PAIR PEPPERS & TOMATOES
~ Summer Vegetable Stew ~
~ No-Cook Tabblouleh ~
~ Elise's Tomato Gazpacho ~
~ Summer Lentils ~
~ Peperonata with Potatoes ~

~ more bell pepper recipes ~
~ more tomato recipes ~

~ more low-carb recipes ~




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Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
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10 comments:

i loooove grilled peppers. when i can't do it outside i like to char up some peppers right over an open flame on my stove. it works really well!

Thanks VV, that's such a great tip, I should have mentioned it. I've never had much luck on the stove, though, so usually roast peppers in the oven.

There is nothing in that dish that I don't love!

This salad sounds delicious... I just love simple foods that pack a lot of flavor!
Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Did I miss it ? What do you do with the onion ? leave raw or grill too?
Thanks.

Good catch, anonymous. Just the peppers and tomatoes are grilled, the onion added later. I've fixed the recipe to reflect this, many thanks.

I made this last night with some friends and we decided that the hot peppers were too much for us. I usually like spicy food, but even the few we added... oh my.
We also wondered if grilling the onions might not make it delicious, too. Raw onions can be a little overpowering.

That said, we had very very few leftovers. Yum-O!

Hi Alaina (St. Louis, yes?) - thanks for taking the time to write. Laurie actually uses 1:1 sweet:hot peppers, I can't imagine. I love the idea of grilling the onions, too. Another way to manage their sharpness is to soak in cold water for a few minutes after slicing, drain well and then add in.

This recipe looks delicious! Thanks for sharing it!

LaTeaDah

rervysYou cook like I do - a little of this and a little of that!

I messed up on the link for roasting the peppers. It says to broil them skin-side down. I did all but the last batch the other way around. In the end, I thought it was better, but I threw the tomato skins away. They were just tough and burnt! The rest I kept.

This was a dry run for a party tomorrow, and it's a GO!

I used 1/2 cup olive oil, one half cup red wine vinegar, and 2 cloves mushed garlic with lots of salt.

I thought fresh basil might be good, but after the smell and taste test, I had to say no. Same with roasted and freshly ground cumin.

Best to leave some things alone!

I cook a lot and rarely, exactly by the recipe, but am told I'm good. This one was fun. Maybe because it left many things to the chef's discretion.

You allowed us to go for something that we thought would be good, and when I did that it turned out so good, I couldn't wait to take it to the party tomorrow.

Super!

Thank you.

Rob

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna