Hello Salty friends!
Whew, it has been a jam packed summer thus far! Are you enjoying all your BBQ’s, summer parties, and hopefully some summer relaxation? We have been so fortunate to see so many friends this summer here in Newport. Friends from Italy, Virginia Beach, Pennsylvania and Colorado have made their visit to us in the awesome city by the sea. Just last night, my soon to be turning 80 year old dad (bday tomorrow) and my spring chicken mom of a few years younger have arrived from South Carolina and are ready to spoil our boys with lots of love and attention. Grandparents are the best! Our schedule is packed with fun things to do together and to start we may just take my dad on the Craft Brew Race and end the day at the Polo fields. With that being said, it is going to be a crazy day. Matt and I love food and like to prepare some fun sides and main dishes to bring to events like the Polo gathering and so we are preparing…
Grilled Pepper and Torn Mozzarella Panzanella
Yup….grilled peppers and not cheater jarred ones, creamy mozzarella (so wishing I had some Napoli mozzarella, don't you?) and bread…do I need to say more??? This is from one of my favorite cooks, Deb Perleman and from her yummy Smitten Kitchen recipe collection. We didn’thave sherry vinegar and we used red wine vinegar which worked just fine. We added sliced black olives and torn pieces of fresh basil for a nice contrast and of course used our Newport Sea Salt to finish this awesome yummy picnic worthy side or main dish! It will soon become your favorite too! This recipe may inspire you to book a trip to Naples, Italy STAT to buy some fresh creamy mozzarella straight from Campania....the kind when you bite into the ball of fresh cheese, the cream drips down your chin and you just don't have another care in the world.
Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (See here for the real recipe and read her lovely recipe blog: Grilled Pepper and Torn Mozzarella Panzanella)
I have added my own few changes to the recipe which are in italics.
• TO GRILL
• 4 1-inch slices bread, country-style
• 3 large red bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
• 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• Newport Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• TO FINISH
• 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
• 1 garlic clove, minced or sliced...we love GARLIC!
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoons capers, drained (rinsed if salted) or black olives or both!
• 4 ounces mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces, or 4 ounces bocconcini
• Fresh herbs — snipped chives, basil, or parsley or a mix thereof — to finish (optional)
Prepare vegetables: Place bread, pepper halves, and onion wedges in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Newport Sea Salt and grind away with the black pepper. Use your hands to toss everything together until oil coats everything.
To grill: Heat your grill to medium-high, or if yours is small and dinky like mine, high heat. Spread peppers and onions across grill grates and grill, lid down, flipping as needed, until onions are charred in spots (they’ll be done first) and peppers are blistered and blackened in many spots and beginning to soften. Transfer onions to a plate as they’re done; transfer peppers to a bowl. Use bread in bowl to swipe up any excess salt, pepper, and/or oil in it and place slices on grill. Grill until toasted on both sides. Transfer to plate with onions.
No grill? You can do all of the above under your broiler, or in your oven at 450 degrees F. Broilers vary wildly in how robust their heat is, so keep an eye on it. Vegetables tend to take longer in the oven, up to 40 minutes, but check in at 20 to be safe. In both cases, turn vegetables and bread as needed to get an even color.
Marinate peppers: Place foil or a lid over peppers in bowl to trap heat. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove as much of the skin as you can. This is unquestionably the most annoying part so do only as much as would bother you to have to eat. (For me, this is almost every speck but you’re probably less crazy.) Cut peppers into 1/2- to 1-inch wide strips.
NOTE: We didn't do the above step....
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together vinegar of your choice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon Newport Sea Salt (and more to taste), and garlic. Add capers. Add peppers to bowl and let them marinate for as little as 5 minutes or up to a day, even. The longer they souse, the more pickled they’ll taste. After 5 minutes, however, they still have plenty of flavor.
To assemble and serve: Shortly before you’re ready to eat the salad, add onions to the bowl with the peppers. Tear bread into chunks and add to bowl, along with mozzarella. Mix gently, making sure the dressing coats the bread. Taste and add more sea salt and pepper if needed. Finish with herbs and serve in big heaps.
Seriously, I would like to be adopted by Deb Perleman. She has so many amzingly yummy recipes and our sea salt compliments so many of her dishes as she likes to use kosher salt. Our Newport Sea Salt is an awesome way to finish these dishes and makes them shine even brighter. (IMO) ;)
Thank you, Deb Perleman! Stay salty, friends!