This salad is an alltime favorite of mine. I fell in love with it during my year abroad in Valencia but then forgot about it completely until a decade later when my mother-in-law reunited us. God, she was an awesome cook. She made Bobby Flay look like Ronald McDonald. Anyway, here in Spain, I feel it's my duty to pull this dish out at least once a month regardless of how good (or bad) the peppers are looking. Lucky for me produce is changing over again so I can gear the kids up for some really awesome summer salads. This one, while somewhat tedious is well worth the work.
Trust me kids, I know my salads.
WHAT YOU NEED
4-5 jumbo sized red peppers, whole
1 onion halved
1 eggplant, whole with tip cut off
2 vine ripened tomatoes, whole
1 hard boiled egg
coarse sea salt
WHAT YOU DO
- Use a generous amout of olive oil to coat all of the vegetables. Really work it in and give those babies a bath. I use my bare hands, hoping by some miracle that the olive oil will seep into my pores and help my Spanish come out more fluently. It never works though.
- Give the vegetables a good dusting of sea salt all the way around and place on roasting pan. I usually roast my peppers first and then do the onion, eggplant and tomatoes in a second batch. But if you've got a huge roasting pan, which I do but it's still Stateside in storage, stick 'em all in and you're good to go.
- Place roasting pan with veggies into the oven and broil their balls off. You want the skins on the peppers to get blackened and flakey so that when it comes time to
burn the shit out of your fingerspeel them, the skins come off without too much of a fight. Oh yeah, don't forget to turn your vegetables so all sides are equally charred. This is probably obvious to you but I'm not really what you'd call a cook and need a step by step on how to boil water...
- Roasting done? Okay, now set 'em aside for 20 minutes or so and go check your Facebook account. You need to beware that these babies are HOT. Furthermore, there's a bunch of olive oil and steam inside the peppers and eggplant. Trust me when I say it's in your very best interest to let the mo'fos cool down a bit.
- Carefully and slowly you are going to lay out one pepper and start to peel off the burnt skin. If you're lucky, which I never am, it will come off in nice long papery strips and you'll be done with your first pepper in under 2 minutes. But, if you're like me, you're gonna get scoliosis from standing hunched over that first pepper for 20 minutes while you peel blackened strips that are 2cm in length. Don't give up though, just keep peeling. I usually cut out the top of the pepper and hang it upside down over my roasting pan so the juices empty into the pan drippings. You'll want to use this later so don't discard!
- Peppers peeled? Good. Messy though, isn't it? Now you're ready to split the peppers, scrape out the seeds and cut them into long strips. I usually aim for strips as long and as wide as my middle finger.
- Now peel your tomatoes and eggplant. The skins on these should slide right off. Once peeled, cut the eggplant into strips and quarter the tomatoes. Toss them into your bowl of roasted red pepper strips and you're practically done!
- Remember those pan drippings from #5? Go ahead and drizzle them over the vegetables. Don't be shy. It's just olive oil and love. It's all good, I promise.
- If you're feeling sexy, hard boil and egg and dice it up to garnish the top of the dish. I don't know why hard boiled eggs are sexy to me. Maybe it's the translation: huevos. Mmmmm, I just love big huevos!
- You're done! Cover and set aside until you're ready to
snarf it all downenjoy. I recommend a crusty loaf of french bread so you can sop up all that leftover love at the end of the meal.