This is such an easy, colourful dish to make, with knock-out flavours: sweet, smoky roast peppers, salty little capers, fresh basil, olive oil and just a wink of garlic. I used these beautiful long peppers, brought from Impala Fruiterers during my recent shopping spree. The secret to succulent peppers with skins that slip right off is to let them cool completely in the oven. Please use freshly crushed garlic for this dish - not that awful yellow paste that comes in bottles and makes your breath reek for days. Make well in advance so the flavours can develop.
Really Easy Roast Pepper and Caper Salad
6-8 red, yellow and green peppers
100 ml olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp (2,5 ml) Tabasco sauce
salt and milled black pepper
a scattering of capers*
fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Put the whole peppers, stalks and all, on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the skin starts to blacken in places. Now turn down the heat and roast for another 15 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and leave the peppers to cool down to room temperature in the oven. Cut off the stalks of the peppers and slip off their skins. Cut each pepper in half and, using the back of a knife, scrape out the seeds. Slice into long strips. Combine the olive oil and the freshly crushed garlic in a little bowl. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then stir in the Tabasco sauce. Now, using a tea strainer or sieve, strain the oil mixture over the peppers, pressing down on the garlic bits with the back of a teaspoon. Season with salt and pepper and scatter with capers and basil. Let the salad stand for at least an hour before serving.
Serves 6 as a side salad.
Note: I use dried, salted capers (available from good delis). They have to be soaked in a few changes of water first, but they are much nicer than the vinegary ones. A pounded anchovy fillet added to the dressing would be good (but my family don't like them).