In last week’s review of Tel Aviv by Jigal Krant I noted that the food culture of that city is heavy on spice, vegetables, and heat. Contrast that attitude with our common assumption that to be “satisfying” a dish has to have protein or fat. Or both.

This recipe belies our common belief. This salad is absolutely satisfying. And, it provides a platform for experimenting. The original recipe uses pomegranate molasses but you could add pomegranate seed.

“Should we?” Suzi asked me. She was holding up a big chunk of duck confit. No, we remained “meatless” and true to the recipe. But, you don’t have to. That confit would be a great addition. So would some turkey meat or even diced ham. Ah, not kosher.

Play at will!

If you happen to have on hand a supply of roasted bell peppers, this recipe can be prepared in just a couple of minutes. For a weeknight when you’ve had a tough day, this is the ideal superior supper. And, heck, roasted raw peppers only takes a few minutes.


Roasted Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup rocket arugula 100 g (3!~ oz)
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality balsamic vinegar

Preparation:

Blacken the bell peppers over the open flame of your stovetop or, if you don’t have a gas stove, under the oven broiler. Once completely blackened, seal in zip-lock bags and set aside to cool. When cool, peel the blackened skins off, remove the stalks and seeds, and slice the flesh into long, thin strips.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar and molasses until well combined (don’t worry if the mixture is a bit lumpy). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, bearing in mind that the goat cheese will be salty. Marinate the bell pepper strips in this dressing until ready to serve.

To serve, make a bed of rocket on each of four plates and spoon the pepper strips, and their dressing, on top. Sprinkle over the crumbled goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Hold the tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in your left hand (if you’re right-handed) and use the point of a knife to spatter a nice pattern over each serving. Serve immediately.


Source: Tel Aviv by Jigal Krant [Smith Street Book, 2019]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/40th second at ISO‑125