Oh my heavens, if there is ever a dish to serve in the heart of summer it’s this one.
I received my last Bon Appetit magazine delivered to Shady Lane about a month ago. To be quite honest, I normally take a quick glance, day dream about possibly having the time (and my family to have the palate) to actually make one of their recipes, and then it gets tossed aside. To be clear, there is a lot of good stuff there but it’s just not exactly our…..style. They can get lean a tad far out there and with my meat and potatoes midwestern crew it doesn’t typically offer much for us.
Until this past edition.
I think I earmarked four recipes within minutes. Like this walnut pesto pasta, and a blueberry crumble, check check check. Then I came upon this beautiful feature of beautiful women traveling beautiful places and eating the most beautiful of things, including these to die for roasted red peppers. They just screamed summer. The colors….the flavors. They hit all the right notes in all the right places. Sweet from the red pepper, sour from the summer tomatoes, salty from the anchovies, buttery from the ricotta, and bitter from the olives. One bite in and you’re hooked.
Summer sides can get a bit dated (think grandma’s potato salad). Next bbq you’re hosting set this next to some grilled flank steak or chicken and you are good to go. Or, go meatless, and make this your main course. Either way, I promise it works out absolutely lovely.
- 4 red bell peppers, halved, seeds and the ribs removed
- 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup basil leaves, divided
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 TBS plus ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to use multi colored ones)
- ⅓ cup fresh ricotta
- ¼ cup pitted small black and/or green olives
- Flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Place bell peppers, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish and top with anchovies and garlic. Tear ¼ cup basil leaves and sprinkle over top, season with kosher salt and black pepper, and drizzle with 2 TBS olive oil. Bake until peppers are tender but still hold their shape and are slightly charred around edges, roughly 45 minutes. (You may need to turn on the broiler for a minute or two to get the charred effect). Let cool.
- Meanwhile, blend remaining ¾ cup basil and remaining ⅓ cup oil in a blender until smooth; season basil oil with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Arrange bell peppers on a large platter. Top with tomatoes, ricotta, olives, and more basil, then drizzle with basil oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Beautiful!