My mom’s pepper salad has always seemed to me, the most unlikely favorite dish, but people love it! Even I love it and I’m not the biggest fan of green peppers (and you really need to use green peppers or they won’t stand up in this recipe). In general I think peppers totally overwhelm dishes and I use them very sparingly. Also, as a kid, I didn’t like anchovies, but I’ve always loved this salad. Here’s the thing. You don’t have to eat the anchovies, but the flavor they add to the overall salad is amazing, and I would never recommend making this without them. In some ways it’s like a Caesar salad where you blissfully enjoy it, while pretending the anchovies aren’t there. In this case though, they are really visible, especially in my family where we’ve taken to doubling the amount added. As you may have read in Tree Trimming, my cousin Lou loves anchovies and so we had to double the amount. Likewise, Mike loves black olives so my mom has doubled the amount of those too! We aim to please around here. You can add according to your taste of course. This dish is a crowd pleaser and a particular favorite at our Easter dinner and our Tree Trimming party. It’s pretty quick and easy to make and really comes in handy in a pinch. Just make sure you always have a stock of canned black olives and some anchovies, either in a jar or a tin. If you are baffled to find canned olives as an ingredient in an Italian recipe, you’re not alone. I am too, but that’s just how we’ve always done it. Perhaps the selections were limited many years ago when my mom first made this. Enjoy!
- 4-6 green bell peppers
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- 1-2 6z cans of black pitted olives
- 2-4 oz of anchovies
- Wash peppers and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Carefully place peppers into the boiling water for about 3 minutes. You will have to do this in batches if they do not all fit in the pot at once.
- Using tongs or a wooden spoon, gently push the peppers below the water. I also use tongs to turn them so that all parts of the pepper come into contact with the water.
- After about 3 minutes, carefully remove the peppers and place in a bowl to cool. Most people shock vegetables after blanching (more on that later), but I honestly never do that for this recipe and it always turns out perfectly.
- When the peppers are cool enough to handle, cut them in half using kitchen scissors and remove the stems and inner core and seeds.
- Cut the pepper halves lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips and place in a serving bowl.
- Once the peppers are cool, dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste.
- Then drain the olives from the can and add to the peppers.
- Add some salt to taste keeping in mind that the olives and the anchovies will add a certain amount of salt. Mix the salad.
- Next carefully separate and add the anchovies without breaking them. You can also add a bit of the oil in which the anchovies are packed for extra flavor.
- Mix gently so as not to crush the anchovies.
- *Shocking is the process of submerging just blanched vegetables into ice water to stop the cooking process and also retain the vegetable’s crunch and color. In this case I like the texture of the peppers without shocking and I guess we’ve just become accustomed to the color which is definitely not as bright green as a raw pepper.