Here’s my first experience cooking from Luisa Weiss’s My Berlin Kitchen, Peperoni al Forno Conditi. Isn’t this a pretty salad?
I took these photos half an hour before the guests arrived for a dinner party, so I had not yet added the crisped fresh bread crumbs to this.
First of all, thanks to Ms. Weiss for sharing the best way to roast (and later peel) peppers. By putting them into the oven, you get lovely roasted peppers without black singed spots (as one gets holding them over a burner’s flame, or a grill flame). Even better, they are much easier to peel!
So, I washed and slapped these peppers onto a pan, and stuck them in the oven for about an hour. Here’s what came out of the oven:
After they cooled enough to touch, I was able to lightly grip the skins, and they came right off, much more easily than I expected. Here’s what my big bunch of peppers looked like after I got all the peels off. I put them into the fridge, and finished assembling the salad later in the day.
Unfortunately, oil-cured olives and salt-cured capers are not easily available at the last minute in my town, so I used regular kalamata olives, and vinegar-cured capers. In deference to guests who might not like anchovies, I didn’t use them. I should have. I think the sweetness of the peppers needed more of a salty, umami balance. Go make this as soon as you can. It’s beautiful, and people will eat it right up.
Peperoni al Forno Conditi, serves 4
from My Berlin Kitchen, by Luisa Weiss
- 2-3 slices stale white peasant bread
- 3 red bell peppers
- 3 yellow bell peppers
- 1/4 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
- 3 anchovy fillets (optional), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup salt-cured capers, soaked and drained
- 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, minced (I’d use less)
- 4 Tablespoons best-quality olive oil, or more to taste
- Flaky salt, such as Maldon (I used Trapani)
1. Cut the stale bread into rough chunks and blitz in food processor until they turn to coarse crumbs. Spread out on a plate and set aside to crisp up and dry out.
2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash and dry peppers and lay out on sheet. Put baking sheet in oven and let roast for 45 minutes, turning the peppers every 10-15 minutes to make sure they cook evenly. By the end of their cooking time, they should be blistered all over, and have juices bubbling.
3. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until you can handle the peppers. Set out a clean plate next to the pan and pull the skins off the peppers, working over the foil. Take care when you “unplug” the stem of the pepper: hot steam or liquid usually comes gushing out. Your hands will become quite wet as you work; periodically dry them to facilitate the cleaning of the peppers. Transfer the peeled peppers, devoid of seeds, to the plate. As you transfer the peppers, use your fingers to tear them into thin strips. Discard the foil and the pepper trimmings.
4. Sprinkle the peppers with the breadcrumbs, olives, anchovies, capers, and parsley, and drizzle with the olive oil. Mix gently, and sprinkle with flaky salt to taste. Serve right away. The salad without breadcrumbs can be held at room temperature for up to 4 hours- mix in the breadcrumbs at the last minute, so they retain their crunch.