Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sauteed pepper salad with hard-boiled eggs and pine nuts

When the temperature reaches the upper 30s in March in Vermont, and our lawns are down to only a few patches of snow-cover left, our thoughts begin to turn to making salads of things that grow out of our own ground.

Sadly, nothing is available yet (I thought I saw the chives poking up new green shoots yesterday, but I couldn't be sure), and the endless parade of winter squash, cabbage and root vegetables that characterizes our winter farm share is getting a little old. However, my mother's recently acquired Costco membership has seduced me into buying outrageously out-of-season (but cheap and decent quality) vegetables in large quantities, including these sweet mini peppers (size of jalapeƱos but sweeter than bell peppers).

So for lunch today I sliced up the remaining vast amount of them (I think there were 30 or so — you could probably substitute 3-4 regular bell peppers), sauteed them with some oregano and served as a flat-plate salad, topped with some pine nuts (also purchased in large quantities for cheap at Costco) and sliced hard-boiled eggs, seasoned with the fancy artisanal sherry vinegar that H bought me for Christmas this year.

3-4 bell peppers, or 20-30 sweet mini peppers (mixture of red, orange and yellow), sliced
1/4 c. pine nuts
olive oil for drying
2 hard-boiled eggs
a couple of pinches of dried oregano
a couple of pinches of paprika, preferably Spanish smoked paprika
1 tsp sherry vinegar

1. Toast pine nuts in a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and starting to brown a little. Remove to a small bowl.

2. Add a good glug of olive oil to the skillet, wait a half-minute for the oil to heat through, then add the peppers. Toss the peppers well with the oil, then sprinkle with salt and dried oregano.

3. Fry peppers for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and a little browned around the edges. Take skillet off heat and let pepper cool in skillet for 5 minutes or so. Meanwhile, peel and slice your eggs.

4. Taste peppers for seasoning; add more salt if necessary. Divide among two plates, and sprinkle pine nuts on top. Arrange the egg slices on top of the peppers, drizzle 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar over each plate, and dust egg slices with the paprika.