Insalata di Peperoni e Capperi | Sweet Capsicum Salad with Tomato Dressing and Capers

Bugialli died recently. He was instrumental in bringing Italian regional food to the US – beginning with his first book in 1977, Food of Italy. Surprisingly, he didn’t become as well known in other parts of the world, but that might have been by design.

When French cuisine was being celebrated in the 1970s, Bugialli argued that Italian cooking also deserved to be taken seriously, beginning with the understanding that it varies by region. This fundamental fact, true of any great cuisine, is so often bypassed as we delve into foreign foods – and today the great internet machine condenses ancient and complex cuisines into a few popular dishes. Bugialli, with his love of his own heritage, scoured Italy for regional dishes and published authoritative books on many sub-cuisines of Italy. When we think about the handful of people who have been instrumental in exciting other countries about the cuisine of their own country, excited enough to alter the supply-and-demand chain of ingredients, it is difficult to more than a couple. Roden, Child, David, Thompson – can I include Oliver in this list? – all English speaking passionate foodies who fell in love with the food and food philosophy of a different country. Bugialli and Jaffrey are two of the few who have successfully translated their own cuisine in a way that not only is acceptable to others but has also driven culinary change.

You might expect there to be more people who have achieved notoriety in this way. The difficulty is, of course, that one needs to be able to view the food – ingredients, processes, techniques, history, associated stories – through the eyes of the intended audience. This is easiest if you are yourself a member of your target audience, and incredibly difficult if you are not. The advantage that Jaffrey and Bugialli had was that they both lived and worked in the UK and/or the US for some time before adopting their culinary careers of writing and teaching.

When I returned home from my shortish working sojourn in the North East of France with its amazing foods, wines and cheeses, I scoured the local bookshops for French cookbooks. In the process I also discovered a number seminal cookbooks from other European cuisines. Not that I knew they were seminal at the time but I did have a nose for great cookbooks. That is why I happen to have a much loved Bugialli, but it was a long time before I came to realise how influential he had been and how classic his books are.  This wonderful eggplant dish is one of his.

So today I am making another simple but wonderful dish from his book – a simple salad of capsicums with capers. I learnt a great technique from this recipe. When roasting capsicums in the oven, include a tray of water in the bottom of the oven. The steam from the water begins to lift the skins from the capsicums without over-charring them, so that the flesh is protected. They are more steamed than grilled, leading to a very delicate flavour.

This colourful salad of silky,sweet capsicums, tangy capers and fresh herbs can be a salad or side dish, appetiser, part of a mezze spread, or an addition to a sandwich or wrap. It can also be layered onto other tossed or composed salads. The combination of tomato, garlic, mint and capers is an amazing pairing with the sweet capsicums. Yum!

Similar recipes include Mixed Vegetables and Yoghurt with Green Chilli Oil, Salad of Pasta and Capsicums with Walnuts, Radiant Autumn Salad of Peppers, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Browse all of our Capsicum Salads and our Italian dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Salty Fried Beans with Chilli, Ginger, Garlic and Capers

Inspired by something I saw on Bon Appetit, these beans are a perfect heatwave-conditions Summertime snack. Salty and crispy, they would go well with a beer about mid afternoon, if only I drank beer. The green beans are shrivelled and browned into delicious tenderness in a chilli flavoured oil, then tossed with crispy fried capers, garlic and ginger, and some chilli flakes.

Similar recipes include Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings, Crispy, Spicy Fried Okra, and Pan Fried Broad Beans with Chilli, Lime and Salt.

Browse all of our Green Bean dishes and all of our Snacks. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Turnip Salad with Capers (Raw Turnip or Caramelised Turnips)

This delightfully simple salad can be made with either raw or caramelised turnips, for completely different tastes. Caramelising them removes the tang of the raw turnips, so it depends on your tastes and your mood for the day. I love to slice the turnips (or daikon, which can be used instead of turnips), but you can also shred or julienne the raw ones or cut the caramelised ones into thin wedges (about 0.5 cm) before cooking.

It is such a simple salad, it takes 30 seconds to get together once the turnips are prepared.

Similar dishes include Butter Braised Turnips, Winter Roast Vegetables with Chickpeas, Turnips in Yoghurt, Daikon Salad with Nigella Seed, and Daikon and Coconut Salad.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes, and all of our many many Salads. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Braised Fennel with Capers, Olives and Ricotta

Ah fennel – the vegetable that says Summer to me, yet grows in Winter. It goes so well in crisp, light, lively salads, the sort that don’t seem to pair well with the cold, short, dark days of Winter. The trick of course, is to apply heat to the bulb, braising or sauteeing it into dishes suitable for Winter. We have a few ready to be posted over the next few Wintery months, so stay tuned.

This dish braises the fennel with salty capers and black olives, splashing it with verjuice before serving it with a little creamy feta and tangy lemon zest. It is an Ottolenghi dish – who else would put those flavours together? It is a pleasure to add this dish to our heat-applied fennel dishes.

Just in case you are wondering, the 15 garlic cloves isn’t a typo – once scorched, they add a mellowing sweetness to an otherwise piercingly sharp dressing. Keep the ricotta in the dish if you can, it helps balance the acidity of the verjuice and other ingredients.

This Ottolenghi dish is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. In fact, it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. As I said, I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include  Baked Fennel with a Creamy Sauce, Fennel with Garlic and Orange, Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Garlic and Orange, Fennel and Fig Salad with Vin Cotto, and Fennel, Tomato and Potato Salad.

Browse all of our Fennel recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Sunday Brunch Cucumber Salad

Brunch, that late breakfast or early lunch, really a replacement for both, gorgeous on long lazy Autumn weekends. It’s blend of 2 meals means that it has elements of both. Whether you are doing more lunchy elements for your brunch, or more breakfasty elements, a salad always goes down a treat. Think Avo on Toast with a Brunch Salad. Perfect.

This is a Bittman inspired salad from his 100 Salads. You might like to try some of his other salads – for example, Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Salad with Walnuts, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Garlic and Pine Nuts and White Beans, and Charred Tomatoes with Mint and Lime.

Are you after just Cucumber Salads – try Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, Lightly Pickled Cucumber Salad with Tofu, and Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries.

You can browse all of our Bittman Salads, and all of our Cucumber Salads. All Salads are here. Or simply explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Avocado and Capers Salad

A quick salad came together tonight, using the ingredients we had available. Greens from the garden, an avo from the kitchen bench and onion and capers from the fridge. A melon too, a few spices, some herbs.

This salad is great with crispy bread for lunch, or as a side for any meal. It even makes a good mid afternoon snack. Its adjustable and versatile. Use what you have in your kitchen and garden. As a bonus, how beautiful it is!

Are you looking for other Avocado Salads? Try Cucumber and Avocado Salad, Avocado and Strawberry Salad and Retro Recipes with Avocado.

We have some other Avocado recipes too. Try Avocado and Celery Cold Soup, Avocado Soup and Guacamole.

Or, if you’d rather, browse all of our Avocado Salads,  all of our Avocado recipes, and all of our many Salads. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Crispy Cauliflower with Capers

This dish of deep fried cauliflower is from Spain. The cauliflower is dusted in chickpea flour (gram flour) and deep fried  until crisp. Then, like the old fashioned beach-made fish and chips, sprinkled with plenty of salt and vinegar. In a modern day twist, capers are added. It makes a great snack, mezze dish, entree (starter) or side dish.

There are a range of traditional dishes that deep fry cauliflower. Think of Cauliflower Pakora, for example. Even Ottolenghi makes a salad or side dish of deep fried cauli with a tahini sauce. There’s Southern Fried Cauliflower, Fried Cauliflower Steaks, Moroccan Fried Cauliflower, Cauliflower Tempura, and many more such recipes. There is a simple reason for so many dishes. It tastes very very good. This recipe will knock your socks off.

Similar dishes include Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips, Cauliflower and Okra Pakora, Roasted Cauliflower Soup, and Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Cauliflower dishes. All of our Snacks are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Cucumber and Tomato Sunday Salad

Brunch, that late breakfast or early lunch, really a replacement for both, so that its identity is that it has elements of both. Whether you are doing more lunchy elements for your brunch, or more breakfasty elements, a salad always goes down a treat. Think Avo on Toast with a Brunch Salad. Perfect.

Are you looking for Salads? Try Quick Tomato Salad with Mustardy Mayo, Tofu and Chilli Salad, and Fennel Salad with Fresh Prunes.

Are you after just Tomato Salads? Try Tomato Salad with Ginger and Lime, Salad of Marinated Zucchini and Tomatoes, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, and Bok Choy with Capers and Tomatoes.

Or try some Cucumber SaladsSpicy Cucumber Salad with Herbs and Poppy Seeds, Cucumber Salad with Sesame Seeds, and Smashed Garlic and Cucumber Salad.

You can browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Cucumber Salads. All Salads are here. Or simply explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Cucumber Salad with Capers and Ricotta

Cucumber Salads never fail to remind me of the British and their cucumber sandwiches. There is something elegant, simple, yet refined and luxurious about cucumbers. The taste is subtle and it is their water content that provides the perception of being cooling and wonderful.

Featuring them in salads is tough, given that subtlety. They can easily be overwhelmed by the ingredients that you pair them with. One of the ways to circumvent this is to use something creamy – feta, ricotta, avocado, for example, and then highlight the flavours with a contrasting tang from an ingredient or the dressing.

That is exactly what this salad does. It relies solely on the quality of the olive oil (must have an excellent taste), the cucumbers (not late seasons, make this in early or mid Summer) and the ricotta (to maximise the creaminess). I do hope that you enjoy it.

Are you looking for other Cucumber Salads? Try Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint, Cucumber, Feta, Mint and Dill Salad, Cucumber and Tomato Sunday Salad, Cucumber and Avocado Salad, Translucent Cucumber Salad, and my Mother’s German Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Creamy Dressing.

All of our Cucumber Salads are here, and all of the Cucumber Recipes are worth browsing. Otherwise, perhaps browse our Mid Summer recipes.

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Bok Choy with Capers and Tomatoes

Summery goodness in a bowl.

Summery goodness in a bowl. For something different in the hottest of weather, opt for a cold salad of bok choy – and some iced tea.

Similar recipes include Tomato Salad with Ginger and Lime, Green Papaya, Snake Bean and Tomato Salad. You might also like to make Kimchi too.

Browse our Salads and our Tomato recipes here. Be inspired by all of our Late Summer dishes.

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