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Tri-pepper salad

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July 16, 2008

Serves 6

Cooks in Southern Italy roast peppers, which imparts a smoky flavor, but it also makes the flesh collapse completely. If you're pureeing or finely chopping the peppers, that doesn't matter, but in a salad, it's nicer when the colorful vegetables maintain their vibrant hues and a delicate crunch. In this version of the classic Italian dish, the peppers are sauteed in olive oil. Add deep purple Gaeta olives, which grow on the hillsides outside Rome, and at the last minute, a handful of briny capers and chopped garlic. Assemble the salad a day in advance to allow the flavors to mellow. Serve it outdoors, accompanied by chicken fresh off the grill, a loaf of crusty bread, and a sunset.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4cloves of garlic, 3 whole and 1 chopped
6 large bell peppers (2 red, 2 yellow, 2 orange), cored, seeded and cut into thick strips
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 pound pitted Gaeta olives, chopped
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the whole garlic cloves and all the bell peppers. Cook, tossing the peppers occasionally, for 15 minutes or until they just begin to soften and the skins start to wrinkle. Remove and discard the whole garlic cloves.

2. Add the chopped garlic, salt, and pepper to the pepper mixture. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the olives and capers and cook 1 minute more.

3. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with parsley. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Cover loosely and refrigerate for at least several hours or for up to 1 day. Michelle Conway

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