Peperonata with buffalo mozzarella

I was looking for a recipe that uses mozzarella but not tomatoes. I found this recipe in from one of my favorite cookbook. Peperonata is one of my favorite salads and here is one of the best recipes that I have ever had.

The Mediterranean is filled with wonderful pepper salads, from the famed Middle Eastern Shakshuka to this Addictive roasted pepper salad from Spain. The art of slow roasting peppers for dishes has been a staple for centuries.

Peperonata is a classic Italian salad of cooked peppers with fresh herbs and laced with vinegar. This dish is elegant with subtle flavors and undeniably good. Unlike some traditional recipes, this version does not have tomatoes, so the flavor is lighter and the peppers shine through. The addition of the nuts, raisins and the creamy cheese makes it irresistible. Do not be alarmed by the long list of ingredients, it is quite a simple recipe, one that is spectacular.

As a note, this salad does better with time. Once you have cooked the peppers, allow it to sit at room temperature for a few hours, or in the fridge over night. The vinegar and the peppers have time to integrate and the flavors smoothen out.

You can serve it as a salad or as an appetizer either by itself or with some bread or pita.

As I have already mentioned, this is one of my favorite cookbooks, cooking from here always makes me happy! The recipes can occasionally be complex to make, but most are simple like this one. Every recipe from this cookbook is spectacular. The Araxi farm-to-table restaurant in Whistler is so on my bucket list.

For more amazing recipes from this cookbook, click here.



Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper

3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

6-8 shallots, thinly sliced

5 large bell peppers of various colors (red , yellow, green, purple) de-stemmed, de-seeded and cut into thin strips

1/2 cup sherry vinegar

1/2 cup raisins, soaked in water for 15 minutes if very dry

2-3 teaspoons sugar

15-20 mint leaves, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted lightly

Mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Mint, to garnish


Heat a large deep frying pan, large enough to fit all the peppers, with the oil. Add the salt, pepper, garlic and shallots and sauté over a low flame for about 4-5 minutes till the onions are soft and translucent. Do not brown the onions.


Add the sliced peppers and turn the heat up to medium. Sauté tossing frequently till the peppers have turned soft and the juices have been released, about 10 minutes. You want the peppers to still have some texture and look bright, so please don't cook them to death.


Add the sherry vinegar, sugar and raisins and sauté till the vinegar has evaporated but the mix is still wet. Take off the flame and mix in the mint leaves. Taste and adjust salt, sweet and acid from the vinegar. The mix should have a hint of sweetness, remember the peppers are also sweet, and the acid from the vinegar should be forward. Set aside to cool.


To serve, mix in half the pine nuts and arrange the peppers in a deep bowl. Top with the remaining nuts, the mozzarella balls and the mint leaves to garnish. Serve at room temperature with bread , if desired.

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