One of the most perfect dishes to set down in front of people for lunch or dinner in the summer, together with plenty of crusty bread, cool white wine, a bottle of green virgin olive oil, and a crock of country butter, is a huge platter of roasted or grilled bell peppers, accented with herbs and salted anchovies filleted and revived in olive oil. The peppers can be grilled or baked, covered, in the oven. They must be peeled, and the secret to easy peeling is to cover them after they are cooked while they are cooling down. The skins should then slip off easily.
Whether grilling or roasting the peppers, do it as slowly as possible, and turn them frequently so that the skin blisters and blackens but the flesh does not burn. It should take about 10 minutes. Put the peppers in a pan, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and let stand until they cool. When cool, cut the peppers open, remove the stems and seeds, and scrape off the skin.
Laying them out flat, trim the tops and bottoms of the peppers. Cut them into fifths or sixths, depending on their size. Lay them out on a platter.
Fillet the anchovies under cold running water and place the fillets carefully in a bowl. Pour some cold water over them and leave 10 minutes. Drain the fillets on paper towels and put in a dish. Pour
Mix the vinegar with salt and pepper and whisk in the remaining olive oil. Pour the dressing over the peppers.
Arrange the anchovies, olives, and herb flowers on the peppers and serve. Serve the olive oil in which the anchovies have been marinating for those who wish to dip their bread in it.
© 1986 Jeremiah Tower. All rights reserved.