Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salad

Serves 4 to 6 as appetizer or side salad

I have a strong affection for roasted red and green bell peppers, particularly when they have ripened on the plant. They are sweeter and fuller in flavor from roasting, almost a different vegetable than raw peppers.

Peppers can be roasted whole or cut in half before roasting. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees, oil a roasting pan and add the whole or halved peppers. Roast until the skin splits if serving with the skin, remove seeds and serve.

If peeling completely, roast peppers until they are completely black and charred. Put in a plastic bag or in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam the skin. Remove the skin under running water. Scoop out the seeds and discard.

Or, place peppers directly on the flame of a gas stovetop, or hold on a grilling fork over the flame until the skin bursts if serving with the skin, or until it chars. Turn and repeat until the entire pepper is as you want it. Remove skin and seeds as above.

To grill or broil, put on oiled surface and cook as above, about 5 inches from the flame.

Roasted, peeled peppers also can be purchased in jars and cans. Most of those are more than adequate substitutes for fresh. Less expensive than fresh, they are good to keep on hand.

This salad is wonderful with added goat cheese or fresh herbs. — Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients

5 red bell peppers, roasted and seeded

3/4 to 1 cup vinaigrette or 3/4 to 1 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions

Tear or slice the peppers into finger-size strips.

Toss in vinaigrette. May be made ahead several days and kept refrigerated, covered.

Nathalie Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, most recently the James Beard award-winning “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com.