Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tomato and Roasted Pepper Salad

About a week ago, I grilled tomatoes to perk up their lackluster winter flavor.  Marinating is another tactic to restore summer flavor to your winter tomatoes.  I tried this last year in my Tomato Salad with Lemon and Agave, and tonight I'm using a similar technique for this vibrant salad.

  • 4 medium tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup bottled caperberries*
1. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and membranes.  Place, skin sides up, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and flatten with your hand.  Broil for 10 minutes, until blackened.  Transfer the peppers to a zip-top plastic bag and seal.  Let stand for 10 minutes, then peel off the skins and cut into 3/4-inch strips.

2.  Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into 4 slices each, and arrange in a single layer on a platter.  Whisk together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and the agave nectar; drizzle over the tomato slices.  Sprinkle with the salt and black pepper and let stand for 15 minutes to marinate.

3. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar in a bowl with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and garlic.  Add the bell pepper strips and caperberries, and toss to coat.  Spoon the bell pepper mixture over the tomato slices. 

*Don't confuse small capers for caperberries.  Although from the same plant, the latter are the fruit (about the size of olives), whereas capers are the immature buds.  You'll find caperberries near olives and capers in the supermarket.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (2 tomato slices, about 2 tablespoons bell pepper mixture), Calories 48

Tasting Notes:
"Fresh" is the first word that sprang to mind - not something that happens often in winter.  The salad balanced salty (the caperberries) and sweet (the balsamic, the roasted bell pepper) quite nicely.  A touch on the acidic side, but quite bright and pleasant.  Caperberries, which I've never had before, are an absolute pop of salty goodness - great in combination with both the bell pepper and the tomato.


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