06 July 2007


Of course, this salad requires roasting things, so perhaps it's not the best idea for hot weather. On the other hand, you can certainly buy roasted red peppers in a jar. Certainly!

I revised this slightly down from the Tassajara Recipe Book. There wasn't much to simplify: I just didn't add the olive oil and vinegar to the dressing. It was me being lazy more than anything else. I would, however, add them in future. Without them, the dressing flavors are almost too pungent and dominant. We need a second source of fat to tie the dressing to the avocado really well.

From this, you will infer that this salad could be described as a SUPER FLAVOR BURST SPECTACULAR. This is true. It was really, really strong, and really cool, and really good.

Avocado salad with roasty red pepper dressing

red bell pepper
clove garlic
olive oil and vinegar
salt and pepper

First, roast the red pepper. Stick it under the broiler, turning every couple minutes, until the skin has charred and blackened all over. Then take it out of the oven and carefully and immediately put it into some sort of container with lid/closure device. Close the lid/whatever and let it sit for five minutes or so. This will let the heat steam the skin, making it really easy to get off. You can use nearly any container that isn't going to melt from the heat of a broiled pepper. Paper bags work. I used a big tupperware container in this instance.

Peel the pepper's skin off with your hands, rinsing if necessary. Then cut it up, removing the stem and seeds.

If you want to use jarred peppers, just take a couple out of the jar, but what fun is that? Also, then you have a whole jar of red peppers to use up before they go bad. Wait. Actually, that wouldn't be so bad.

Here is the fun part. If you have a mortar and pestle, you get to grind a sauce by hand. If you have a blender, you get to grind a sauce by blend. If you are lazy, like me, you get to chop up a sauce manually on the cutting board. In any instance, combine the pepper with 1 clove of garlic and a pinch of salt and grind/blend/chop everything until fully pulverized. You are clearly going to get different textures according to method: chop = rough, grind = medium, and blend = smooth. It doesn't really matter, though; it will still all taste good.

Mix the pepper and garlic with appropriate amounts of olive oil and vinegar. I would use a good big slug of oil but barely any vinegar. Taste it and see what you like. Hello raw garlic!

Slice and peel your avocado. If you want, you can arrange it decoratively. I like it all piled in one big pile.

Pour dressing over avocados, salt and pepper, and eat.

The taste combinations in this salad remind me strongly of the hearts of palm salad at Osteria in Palo Alto. That one is just marinated hearts of palm with similarly marinated red pepper strips, dressed in awesome herby vinaigrette. That gives me another idea, actually. Instead of making an elaborate mashy dressing, why don't you just cut the roasted pepper into strips and toss them with your own awesome herby vinaigrette and the sliced avocado? This idea clearly wins. Oh, man! Why did I eat the other avocado mashed on toast for breakfast?! WHY?

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