Marinated Pepper Salad with Basil, Capers & Pecorino Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Alexandra Stafford



5 Ratings

  • Serves 2 as a starter

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Author Notes

This recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty and, true to Ottolenghi fashion, combines tons of fresh herbs and a variety of textures and flavors, all of which create a colorful and delectable salad. A few thoughts: After making this several times now, I've made a few ingredients optional because I find that there is still so much flavor when fewer herbs are present. So, feel free to keep it simple: Basil alone is delicious. Also, while I love Pecorino, which is the cheese Ottolenghi suggests using, sometimes I find it overpowering and a touch too salty (and I love salt). If you are sensitive to salt, something like Parmigiano Reggiano or Manchego or Drunken Goat (which I had on hand and worked great) are fine substitutions. Finally, if you have a preferred method for roasting peppers, go for it. I typically roast at higher temperatures than what is suggested here, and I prefer to cut the peppers in half rather than quarters, but I was surprised to have little difficulty peeling these peppers when they were not as charred as usual, and the peppers stayed meaty, while still being tender and juicy. The best peppers to roast are the ones that feel heavy in the hand — the thin-walled peppers are very difficult to peel and are best reserved for a different preparation.

Note: This recipe can very easily be scaled up. As the pictures show, I roasted a whole sheet pan of peppers and doubled the marinade for this quantity. These marinated peppers are a treat to have on hand — with a loaf of bread and a few shavings of cheese, you've got an impromptu party appetizer or a simple summer lunch. —Alexandra Stafford

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
  • 3 tablespoonsolive oil
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoonbalsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoonwater
  • 1/2 teaspoonmuscovado sugar (regular is just fine)
  • 2 thyme sprigs (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced (optional)
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoonsflat leaf parsley, leaves picked (optional)
  • 2/3 cupbasil leaves
  • 1 cupwatercress or arugula or mixed greens
  • 2 ouncesPecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano or Manchego (see notes above), shaved
  • 1 tablespoondrained capers
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Toss the peppers with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a little salt. Scatter them in a roasting pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until they soften and take on some color. Remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once cooled to room temperature, peel the peppers and cut into thin strips. Layer in a storage vessel, adding a light sprinkling of salt to each layer.
  2. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the oil, the balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, thyme (if using), garlic (if using) and some salt and pepper. Pour this over the peppers and leave aside for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
  3. To assemble the salad, toss together the herbs, greens, drained pepper strips, cheese and capers. Add more of the marinade as needed so that the greens are lightly coated. Toss, taste, adjust with more salt, pepper or marinade as needed.


  • Salad
  • Vegetable
  • Basil
  • Capers
  • Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Vinegar
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Vegetarian
  • Appetizer

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • nycnomad

  • Alexandra Stafford

  • Claire

  • Richard

Recipe by: Alexandra Stafford

I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

8 Reviews

Claire May 19, 2019

I made this salad once and am about to do it again. Amazing! You could go into any famous deli or beloved neighborhood spot and not find a pepper salad half as good as this one, I put it on sandwiches of all kinds and ate what was left out of the container. Just delicious.

Richard January 25, 2019

As always with Ottolenghi, simple and tasty. You would be well advised to refer to the original recipe though (available online) to use the weight of ingredients that Ottolenghi always carefully specifies, I found quantities given here unnecessarily vague. Ounces of cheese, ok, if you do ounces, but then parsley is given in tablespoons, and basil in cups for some reason. How big is a cup? A cup of mixed greens won't weigh the same as one of watercress. And how tightly do you pack it? Best stick to the recipe as given - grammes or convert to ounces (which are still less precise than grammes).

Jerry K. September 10, 2014

I roast at 180 C for about 30 minutes. The skins are not charred but are very soft. This also works well with aubergines or eggplant or indeed courgettes. Sorry European!! Jerry.

Alexandra S. September 25, 2014

Thank you for the details, Jerry! I still have a ton of eggplant on hand, and I'm planning on roasting some this weekend with the balsamic and oil together — very excited. And no apologies! My dad is British, and I still giggle when he says torch, macintosh, boot.

Jerry K. September 9, 2014

I have used this technique for many years with slight variations. I never bother to remove the skin. I add the balsamic vinegar to the oil before roasting and then pour the warm oil/vinegar mix over the cooling peppers. It makes a wonderful dressing for baked fish or salad leafs. Jerry.

Alexandra S. September 9, 2014

Very interesting! Love the idea of roasting the peppers with the balsamic and then using the warm dressing. How long about do you roast and at what temperature? Do the skins get as charred as they are here? Thanks!

nycnomad September 8, 2014

I tried this yesterday and I must say…simply divine! I was inspired and roasted a pepper of every color I could find at the farmer's market. I left out the cheese (dairy issues boo) but I added instead, some grilled calamari. It was a fabulous compliment! Thank you for sharing such a delightful salad.

Alexandra S. September 8, 2014

So happy to hear this! Honestly, the cheese is unnecessary — I have made this salad in so many different ways now, and as long as the marinated peppers are present in some way, the salad will be good. LOVE the idea of grilled calamari. I don't make calamari enough, and it's one of my favorites. Trying this before the end of summer!

Marinated Pepper Salad with Basil, Capers & Pecorino Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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