Roasted pepper fennel salad with caper dressing
Did you know that I have a dislike for bell peppers? The hatred goes back to my childhood years picking green bell peppers off pizza slices and giving them to my mother to eat. I guess it was to her advantage since they fight wrinkles and her skin still looks flawless at the age of 73. If it wasn’t for the fact that bell peppers contained a wealth of nutrients good at fighting certain types of cancers, bad cholesterol, inflammations and on a superficial level, wrinkles, I would have banished them entirely from my diet. I don’t know what makes them so unappetizing since I love any other types of peppers (shishito, thai chiles, habanero) and will eat anything from sweetbreads to sea urchin with gusto. But I can’t help wincing whenever I bite into one of them as I quickly swallow, mid-chew.
Not all preparations give me the same reaction though (I mostly dislike them raw), I have discovered I don’t mind eating bell peppers that are roasted and dressed in olive oil. Something wonderful happens to the texture; the skin peels off effortlessly revealing a soft and tender flesh that’s sweet and smoky. Once chopped, they make a tasty addition to sandwiches, meat, seafood and salads, which is exactly what this bell peppers recipe does. A mix of fennel, capers, lemon and anchovy paste bring Mediterranean flavors to the forefront, making you feel like you are inside Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona sampling classic Catalan fare.
This pepper fennel salad is no trouble for me to eat – each bite satisfies me in many ways; I love its sweet and nutty taste (from the roasted fennel) and on a health level, it is a powerhouse of antioxidants and phytonutrients (derived from plants, they help fight diseases and make our bodies function properly). What peppers can do for your skin is also pretty extraordinary; they are extremely high in vitamin C and because of that were called a ‘natural botox for wrinkles‘, by Dr. Audrey Kunin during an appearance on the Dr.Oz show (1/4 cup a day serving).
I recommend serving this roasted pepper fennel salad with a healthy bowl of spaghetti squash with mushrooms parmesan, a simple baguette with an assortment of cured meats and cheese, or for something more substantial, spaghetti with turkey meatballs or spaghetti with chili, peas and bacon.
Roasted Pepper Fennel Salad With Caper Dressing
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 people
- 3 bell peppers (yellow, red and/or green)
- 1 bulb fennel (stalks cut off and sliced 1/2-inch thick pieces)
- 2 small tomatoes (cut in half and seeds removed)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons capers
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Put the peppers on a sheet tray covered with foil and broil until charred all over (around 10 minutes). Let cool for a few minutes until you can handle them. Pell off the skin and remove stem and seeds. Slice into thin strips. OR BAKE WITH TOGETHER WITH FENNEL AND TOMATOES.
- Preheat oven to 400Fº, lay fennel slices on a sheet tray covered with foil, add 2 tbsp olive oil and mix well using your hands. Put the tomatoes next to the fennel and cook for about 25 minutes, until fennel is tender, with the edges slightly brown.
For the dressing:
- Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a large mixing bowl and stir well until anchovy paste has dissolved.
- Add peppers, fennel and capers to the bowl and using a spoon, mix well until all the ingredients are well coated.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.