Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Almonds and Shallots

This is the little black dress of salads, the salad I so often go to because it goes with everything – Italian, Spanish, but don’t stop there – and is perfect for every occasion. It’s very simple with a couple of snappy tricks I love.

Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Almonds and Shallots

(or…Little Black Dress Salad)

1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic or sherry vinegar
1 tsp honey
salt, pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
one red pepper
spring greens
handful sliced almonds, toasted

Go ahead and do two things early: wash and dry your red pepper and pop it in the oven, straight on the rack, at about 450°. Then thinly slice your shallot and mix with vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl or coffee cup. Go about preparing your main dish while the pepper is roasting (flip once as the skin gets black) and your shallot pickles.

When the pepper is nicely roasted, partly blackened and blistered, remove it to a plate to cool. Whisk olive oil into your vinegar and shallot mixture. Fill a large bowl half full with greens, and toss with your vinaigrette – save the shallot to spoon on top. Remove the skin, seeds, and stem from your red pepper, thinly slice, and arrange on top of greens. Sprinkle with almonds.

Red Thai Curry

Here is a delicious weeknight meal that you can whip up quickly and not mess up even if you are chatting with your sister and drinking lots of wine.

This uses store-bought curry paste. I make my own sometimes (I’ll post a recipe at some point), and encourage you to as well because it’s fun, but the store-bought stuff is tasty and convenient. I used Thai Kitchen brand.

Red Thai Curry

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
light olive oil, salt, pepper
1 onion sliced
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
water or chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 spring onions

Heat olive oil. Add onions and salt, and fry until they start to turn translucent. Add garlic and chicken, and fry until chicken is cooked. Add curry paste and stir for a minute or two (just so it has a chance to cook but not so much that it starts to burn). Add a cup or so of water or chicken broth, scraping the pan, then add tomatoes, carrots and coconut milk. If needed, add some more water or chicken broth until the chicken is almost covered, cover and lower heat to a simmer.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and carrots are softened. Depending on how much liquid is left, you can remove the top and cook a little more to thicken your sauce.

Garnish with sliced spring onions and serve with limes and jasmine rice. I love to serve my curries steaming at the table right out of the pot.

Afterthought: what would really take this to the next level is some chopped peanuts, mmmm….next time!