The Italians can be very creative with simple ingredients. A little flat bread, some cheese, and vegetables from the garden could describe the beginnings of several popular Italian restaurant foods. Here’s one for panzanella, a dish reminiscent of pizza but with a different result.
Roasted Pepper PanzanellaCourse: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
This would be a great side dish for grilled or roasted chicken. Note that the first two steps can be done the day before to speed final preparation.
4 red bell peppers
1/2 cup light olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon each ground black pepper and salt
1/2 small red onion or 1 large shallot
2-3 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, minced
12 ounces of bread, torn in pieces
1 ounce salami, thin sliced and cut into strips
4 ounces firm cheese (mozzarella, Monterey Jack), shredded
- Preheat broiler. Rinse and pat dry. In a plastic bag combine whole bell peppers, 2 tablespoons oil, salt, and black pepper. Shake well to coat and place bell peppers on a broiler-safe tray. Broil, turning occasionally until outer skin is loose and blistered all over, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool before handling.
- Take bread, torn in bite-sized pieces, on a baking sheet. Season with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and set aside.
- Slice roasted bell peppers in half and clean out the inner seeds and membranes. Slice remaining flesh into bite-sized strips about two inches long.
- Combine pepper pieces in a bowl with onion, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and minced oregano and basil. Pour in 4 tablespoons olive oil and stir to evenly combine.
- To serve, add salami slices and cooled croutons and toss well. Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese.