In a sense, this salad is glorified gazpacho, but chunkier—and it paired wonderfully with our Cataplana (Portugal’s Simple Seafood Stew) entrée. As it only feeds 3 to 4, we doubled the amounts to feed the party of 6.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, our gas oven broiler doesn’t do the best job. When I walked into the kitchen and saw The Hubs down on his knees with his arm stuck into the oven rotating the peppers with tongs, I gently told him that it might be much easier to char them directly over a gas burner. Smart man that he is, he took the hint, because when I walked back in, he was searing the plum tomatoes, two at a time, directly on the grates.
When it comes to hosting, we like to do as much as possible the day prior to the event. For this side dish, he blackened and peeled the tomatoes and bell peppers, then salted the peeled cucumber slices. About half an hour before the feast was served, the salad was finished with the dressing.
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 3 plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. chili paste
- Salt and pepper
- Turn the broiler on, and set the red and green bell peppers underneath. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly blackened on all sides. When done, place in a small plastic bag and let steam for a few minutes. Repeat with the tomatoes, but first lightly coat in olive oil. They will cook much quicker. Remove when lightly blackened all over and let cool on a tray.
- While the bell peppers and tomatoes cool, slice the cucumber into 1/2 inch inch thick slices. Set on a rack or on a paper towel, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let those hang out for 20 minutes or so until they release some water. Dry with paper towels.
- Remove the bell peppers from the plastic bags when cooled. Peel off the skin, remove the stems, and chop into 1-inch squares. Repeat this process with the tomatoes, discarding most of the pulp.
- Toss the chopped bell peppers, tomato, and cucumbers in a large bowl. Add the chopped cilantro, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and chili paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Eat right away, or let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes for the flavors to really marry.
Adapted from a recipe on Serious Eats by Nick Kindelsperger