The Spanish generally flavor bell peppers over spicier chiles. However, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken were recently introduced to piquillo peppers, native to the Navarre region of norther Spain. They're as sweet as red peppers but with a delicate and delightful punch, plus a smoky flavor from fire-roasting. This salad also makes a piquant garnish for grilled swordfish or a tasty hors d'oeuvre mounded on toasts.
Plus: More Vegetable Recipes and Tips
8 flat anchovy fillets
One 7-ounce jar piquillo peppers—drained and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rings, 1 tablespoon of the liquid reserved (see Note)
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, mashed
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, julienned
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausages
How to Make It
In a small bowl, soak the anchovies in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain, pat dry and cut them into thin lengthwise strips.
In a medium bowl, combine the piquillo peppers and liquid with the anchovies, onion, garlic, basil, oil, vinegar and capers. Season with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Light a grill or heat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet. Grill or cook the sausages over moderately high heat, turning, until browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Set the sausages on plates and spoon the pepper salad alongside.
Jarred piquillo peppers are available at specialty food stores and by mail from Zingerman's, 313-769-1625. Or substitute 4 roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and cut into strips, then mixed with a large pinch of cayenne.
Pair with a large, juicy California Zinfandel like Burgess.
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