Roasting the red peppers and lacing them with balsamic vinegar gives an appealing touch of sweetness to the dressing; it's a real winner. Try it on its own over grilled chicken or shellfish.
Slideshow: More Terrific Salads
1 red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 pound mixed salad greens (about 4 quarts)
1 1/4-pound piece smoked ham, such as Black Forest, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin strips
3/4 cup drained and rinsed canned black-eyed peas (from one 15-ounce can)
How to Make It
Roast the pepper over a gas flame or grill or broil it, turning with tongs until charred all over, about 10 minutes. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, pull off the skin. Remove the stem, seeds, and ribs. Cut the pepper into pieces.
In a blender, combine the roasted pepper, the garlic, vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper. Puree until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the greens with the ham and black-eyed peas. Serve the salad with the dressing spooned over the top.
Variation If you'd rather use frozen black-eyed peas, cook them according to the package directions, drain, and let cool before adding them to the salad. Or you could substitute black beans or kidney beans.
This salad needs a crisp and frankly fruity red to contrast its smoky flavors. Beaujolais, easy to find and easier to drink, is a perfect choice.
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