Mediterranean Pepper Salad
The head chef on our catering bus was a very fierce Moroccan chap, hence the use of exotic spices. If you fancy a more Spanish flavour, omit the spices and swap the coriander for parsley.
|2||each green, red and yellow peppers|
|4 tbsp||olive oil|
|1||small onion, peeled and very finely chopped|
|2-4||fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped|
|¼ tsp||each ground cinnamon, ground cumin and ground coriander|
|2||medium tomatoes, chopped into small cubes, or whatever takes your fancy|
|a handful||finely chopped fresh coriander|
First the peppers need to have their skins burned black all over — and I mean burned black. And, of course, the most delicious way to do this is on the barbecue. But let’s assume, as is usually the case here in Blighty, that it’s the middle of winter. In this case, you could either grill them or, if you have a gas cooker, place them directly over the gas rings. Once they’re completely blackened, pop them into a large bowl and cover with cling film.
Meanwhile gently heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook until translucent. Add the spices and fry until their aroma is released (about 30 seconds), then add the tomatoes and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
While the tomatoes are simmering, gently rub the skins off the peppers. Don’t be too pernickety about this, because I think a few black bits here and there really add to the taste. And don’t, whatever you do, be tempted to run them under the tap, because all the benefits earned from the burning will be annihilated. And don’t get carried away with this and forget the tomatoes simmering on top of the stove!
Chop the peppers into the same shapes as you’ve made the tomatoes and add to the tomato mixture.
Put into a dish and throw on the chopped coriander leaves. This salad can be served warm or cold and goes particularly well with Dina’s Moroccan chicken (see page 208 of Stuffed Vine Leaves Saved My Life for this recipe).