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Grilled Red Pepper, Sweet Onion and Tomato Salad

Grilled Red Pepper, Sweet Onion and Tomato Salad
Peppers and chilies of all types, including ripe pimientos and mild green chilies, such as Anaheims or poblanos, are delicious when grilled, and blistering their skin makes them easy to peel. If you are not grilling but want to peel peppers, you can roast them over a gas flame on the stovetop or in a preheated broiler as close as possible to the heating element. Then simply follow the directions in this recipe for steaming, cooling, seeding and peeling.

Ingredients:

  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers
  • 2 sweet white onions, such as Maui, Vidalia
      or Walla Walla, cut into rounds 3/4 inch thick
  • 4 large red or yellow tomatoes, about
      2 lb. total
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for coating
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed, coarsely
      chopped if desired

For the garlic-balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat, or preheat an indoor electric grill. Oil the grill rack.

Put the bell peppers, onion rounds and tomatoes in a bowl and coat them with oil.

Grill the peppers directly over high heat, turning to char and blister them on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper bag, close the bag and let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill the onion rounds, turning once, until grill-marked and partly tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Grill the tomatoes, turning often, until grill-marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook. Transfer to the cutting board.

Peel the peppers and cut open to remove the seeds and stems. Chop the peppers coarsely and mound on a platter. Coarsely chop the onions, then core and chop the tomatoes and add them to the platter. Scatter the basil leaves on top of the vegetables.

To make the vinaigrette, combine the garlic and vinegar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Grilling, by Denis Kelly (Simon & Schuster, 2002).