This dish is impossible to resist: tender roasted peppers topped with creamy cheese simply burst with summery colors and flavors. Olives and basil combined with the peppers and healthy garlic give this dish a visual appeal that matches the great taste and nutrition.
The best of the Italian garden on a plate.
1 head garlic, garnish
2 large red bell peppers
2 large yellow bell peppers
1 clove elephant garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
6 slices Bel Paese cheese, 1 inch in diameter
1/2 cup mixture of opal and green basil, thinly sliced, garnish
Kalamata or green Cerignola olives, garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Break the garlic into cloves and roast covered in an ovenproof baking dish 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, then when the garlic is cool enough to handle, gentle squeeze the cloves out of their skins. Cut the cloves in half vertically and set aside.
2. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place the peppers, with their stems intact, on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, and roast 20-30 minutes, or until the skins darken and blister. Remove the peppers from the oven, and place them in a paper bag. Close the bag by folding over twice. Set the peppers aside to cool.
3. Place the elephant garlic, oil, salt, cloves, and lemon juice in a blender and mix 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a smooth sauce. Pour into a small bowl.
4. Take the peppers from the bag and remove the skins, stems, and seeds. If necessary, rinse the peppers to make peeling easier. Cut the peppers into vertical quarters and arrange on a serving dish. Top with the cheese rounds. Whisk the oil mixture 1 minute, then pour over the peppers and cheese. Garnish with basil, roasted garlic, and olives. Serve immediately.
Adapted from The Onion Harvest Cookbook by Barbara Ciletti (Taunton Press, 1998). Copyright (c) 1998 by Barbara Ciletti. Reprinted by permission of Taunton Press.
Adapted from The Onion Harvest Cookbook by Barbara Ciletti (Taunton Press, 1998).