Golden Tomato, Yellow Capsicum And Fresh Mozzarella Salad
This lovely, simple salad features heavily on our menu over summer as it’s really easy to make, tastes so very good, and looks so inviting. I do a number of variations on it – sometimes adding up to a dozen anchovies and a handful of sharp little nicoise olives; or using red capsicums and red tomatoes instead.
- 5-6 medium-sized yellow capsicums (peppers)
- 1/3 cup *capers
- 1 clove garlic (or more to taste), very finely sliced
- Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- Balsamic or good wine vinegar, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
- 5 medium-size golden tomatoes, cored and each sliced into 6 wedges
- Handful of basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- 9 bocconcini (or use 4-5 balls of buffalo mozzarella), torn into bite-size pieces
- Small basil leaves, to garnish
- * If you’re using salted capers, soak them briefly in water to remove any excess salt, then drain them
Line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the capsicums along their natural contour lines into large, flattish pieces. Remove any pieces of core, along with the seeds and white ribs. Sit them (or as many pieces as you can fit), skin-side up, on the prepared sheet, then run them under a hot grill until the skins blister and blacken. Transfer them to a plate and cover them with a clean tea towel or plastic film – this helps them sweat so the skins loosen. Grill any remaining pieces of capsicum the same way.
It’s best to peel the capsicum pieces while they are still quite hot. I know this is a bit hard on your fingers, but the blackened skin tends to stain the capsicum flesh brown, rather than the beautiful bright yellow you are after, if it is in contact with the flesh for too long. (More often than not I wear prep gloves to do this, to provide some protection from the heat of the capsicums.) Slice the peeled capsicums into nice wide strips – I usually make mine about 2cm wide as the bigger they are, they more luscious they tend to look and taste (don’t ask me why!)
Put the capsicum strips in a serving bowl that will off-set the lovely gold, deep-green and creamy white tones of the salad, and sprinkle the capers and garlic slivers over the top. Add rather a lot of olive oil and a good splash of vinegar then gently mix everything together. Cover the bowl and set it aside in a cool spot for an hour or two. A little while (half an hour is a good bet) before you want to eat the salad, gently mix in the sea salt, tomato and basil. Cover it again.
Just before serving, add the bocconicini and mix everything gently one last time. Taste the juices that have accumulated in the bowl and add more oil, vinegar or salt to suit your taste (the capsicum strips should be lush with oil.) Wipe the sides of the bowl free of any splotches of oil and scatter a few small basil leaves on top.