One of my favorite food pairings is the combination of charred sweet roasted red peppers, salty, meaty black olives, briny capers, and that savory umami profile of anchovies. It’s truly a perfect bite. I’ve made amuse-bouche with this combination which was always a hit. Here I tried to extend that flavor-profile into a form of a salad. I find the savory ricotta filling helps balance out the flavors, the arugula adds a hint of pepper, and the mesclun salad just brings it all together.
What I love about this dish is its simplicity and its rustic form of presentation. All you need is a good crusty loaf, and a glass of Montepulciano!
The photo in this shot was taken by Jesse Louttit. Food styling, by yours truly. This photo was taken on Jericho Beach on a very windy afternoon. It was so windy that half my salad greens flew off, and you’ll notice that, in my haste to work under the conditions, I forgot to drizzle the dressing on! Rushing to get the shot done before we lost the light and while I still had most of my salad in tactJ
Ricotta-stuffed roasted red peppers
1 roasted red pepper, trimmed into a single rectangle
1 roasted yellow pepper, trimmed into a single rectangle
½ cup ricotta
¼ cup cream cheese
2 tbsp Romano
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp evoo
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp capers
6 black olives
Whisk ricotta filling ingredients together until fully. Chill for 30 minutes. Divide the ricotta filling equally between the 2 roasted red pepper rectangles, gently wrap. Toss mesclun greens together with your dressing choice below. Serve and enjoy!
Dressings that perfectly complement this dish:
Basil oil (this technique works perfectly well for parsley, chives, chervil, cilantro, etc.)
1-1/2 cups fresh basil leaves + 1 cup olive or vegetable oil. Blanch basil leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds. Shock – submerge in cold water. This process will help preserve the vibrant green color of the basil. Drain, and pat gently with dry towels. Put basil in food process or blender, puree while slowly adding in the olive oil. Strain oil through a fine sieve. Use as desired. Refrigerates for up to 1 week.
8 anchovy fillets + 2 garlic cloves, de-germed + 1 tbsp white-wine vinegar + 1 tbsp lemon juice + pinch S&P + 6 tbsp evoo. Place everything but the oil in a food processor, puree while slowing adding in the evoo, until fully emulsified.
Sun-dried tomato-balsamic vinaigrette
2 shallots + 6 basil leaves + 1.5 tbsp Dijon + 20 sun-dried tomato halves + ½ cup balsamic vin + 2 cups olive oil + sea salt & freshly black pepper. Place everything but the oil in a food processor, puree while slowing adding in the oo, until fully emulsified.