Looking for a refreshing (and vegetarian, too!) side to accompany your meat-heavy Memorial Day menu? Look no further. You’ll have to raid the garden (or the farmer’s market or the produce aisle) for this seasonal (yet timeless) salad from Jasper White of the Summer Shack. The seafood guru turns his attention to veggies, combining roasted tomatoes and peppers with the cool cukes to create a fresh, light dish that can stand up alongside all your hot-of-the-grill goodies.
- 3 medium green bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 6 ripe plum tomatoes (or 3 large ripe tomatoes - 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Portuguese
- 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 12 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (5 to 6% acidity)
- 2 teaspoons prepared chili-garlic paste (Portuguese or Vietnamese)
- kosher or sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Brush the tomatoes with olive oil on all sides, and using a skewer or pair of long tongs, place the tomato as close to the flame or heat of an open gas flame, a hot grill or a broiler as possible.
- As the skin blisters, turn the tomato until it is blistered all over, about 3 minutes - it's okay if it is charred or blackened. Do this as quickly as possible so the tomato doesn't become over cooked.
- Set them on a pan and let them cool.
- Peel the tomatoes and cut them into pieces about the same size as the peppers, approximately 1 inch.
- Meanwhile, place the cucumber slices on a rack or in a colander and sprinkle them lightly with salt on both sides.
- Allow them to rest for 20 minutes to release their juices, then pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
- Combine roasted peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers in a large salad bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
- Stir in the remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar and chili paste and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Keep chilled but pull the salad and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.