Grilled Pepper and Onion Panzanella with Peperoncini Vinaigrette

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Molly Stevens' panzanella uses grilled sweet peppers and onions in place of tomatoes as the centerpiece of this dinner salad. The charred vegetables are tossed with cubes of grilled bread, drizzled with a peperoncini vinaigrette, and topped with creamy feta and crisp slices of peperoncini, which add pops of flavor and contrasting texture. This is a highly adaptable salad; try incorporating your favorite sweet or hot peppers and grilling other vegetables, such as squash and eggplant planks, alongside the peppers, if you like.

Grilled Peppers and Onion Panzanella with Peperoncini Vinaigrette
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
Servings:
4

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 ounces rustic bread (such as ciabatta or Pugliese) (from 1 [20-ounce] loaf), sliced 1 inch thick

  • 3 small red and/or yellow bell peppers (about 5 ounces each), each cut lengthwise into 4 planks

  • 1 large red onion (about 16 ounces), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided, plus more to taste

  • 8 peperoncini, sliced into thin rounds, plus 1/4 cup peperoncini brine (from 1 [15-ounce] jar), divided

  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled into large pieces (about 1/2 cup)

  • ¼ cup torn fresh basil

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Brush bread slices, bell peppers, and onion rounds evenly with 2 tablespoons oil, and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk together peperoncini brine, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl; set vinaigrette aside.

  2. Arrange bread on unoiled grates; grill, uncovered, until nicely marked and toasted, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Grill bell peppers and onion, covered, turning occasionally, until charred and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board.

  3. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes, and transfer to a large bowl. Slice bell peppers into thin strips, and separate onion rounds into rings; add to bread in bowl. Toss to combine. Drizzle with peperoncini vinaigrette, and toss again. Add additional salt and black pepper to taste, and add a drizzle of oil if salad seems dry. Top with peperoncini rounds, feta, and basil. Serve panzanella warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

Salad can be prepared through step 2 up to 2 hours in advance and held at room temperature. Proceed with step 3 just before serving.

Note

Grilling the bread adds a smoky flavor and dries it out, allowing it to absorb the flavorful vinaigrette.

Suggested Pairing

Substantial Italian rosé: Leone de Castris Five Roses Rosato.

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