From The Accidental Vegetarian, Simon Rimmer, Mitchell Beazley, 2004.
I always like to have a salad to accompany a pasta dish and this is the one I made to go with the Penne with Tapenade.
I put a red capsicum and a yellow capsicum in a hot oven until the skins had blistered. They were then taken out and placed into a plastic bag until they had cooled. They were then easily skinned. The seeds were removed and the capsicum cut into smaller pieces for the salad.
I now put two tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds then took them out and peeled them. They were each cut into eight sections and the seeds removed. The seeds were put into a sieve and as much juice as possible squeezed from them. The tomato portions were added to the capsicum pieces, the juice kept for making the salad dressing.
I now took a portion of a ciabatta loaf, an amount suitable for the salad, and tore it into pieces. These were placed in a bowl while I made the dressing.
To the tomato juice I added a couple of tablespoons red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil. Salt and pepper were added and the mixture was beaten well, then poured onto the bread pieces. The bread was left to stand for about an hour.
To the tomatoes and capsicum I added a good handful of black olives (the recipe called for green but I prefer black), capers and a chopped red chilli. I went out into the garden and picked a few basil leaves and added these. Now the soaked bread was carefully mixed through the salad and it was ready to eat.
This was a salad full of zing. The dressing soaked bread, rich in strong flavours, highlighted all of the other ingredients: the tomatoes and capsicum, and the salty olives and capers—and the little chilli I added was an extra hot one.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔