This is a spectacularly refreshing salad, especially when it is made when cantaloupe melons are at their densely honeyed best. You can roast your own peppers or get them out of a jar if you are in a hurry but do make sure your tomatoes are sumptuously ripe. The bread will soften by soaking up all the fruity juices. This is one to make throughout the summer.
3 red peppers
Olive oil, for drizzling
350g mixed baby tomatoes, halved
600g ripe tomatoes – try a mixed variety such as oxheart, Vesuvio, Iberiko, etc., cut into a mixture of wedges, quarters and rings
Fat pinch of caster sugar
250g sourdough bread, sliced
1 garlic clove
1⁄2 firm cantaloupe melon, skin and seeds removed, cut into 1cm-thick wedges
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 heaped tbsp capers in vinegar, washed and drained
2 balls of buffalo mozzarella
Small bunch of basil, torn
Sea salt and black pepper
FOR THE DRESSING
100ml extra virgin olive oil
60ml red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6.
Place the peppers in a roasting tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for 25 minutes or until the skin is dark and blistered, turning them occasionally. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and let them steam for 20 minutes before peeling and tearing into strips. Discard the skin and seeds.
Put the tomatoes in a bowl and scatter with the sugar.
Get a griddle pan nice and hot. Rub the slices of sourdough with the garlic and drizzle with oil. Place the bread on the griddle pan and char on both sides until golden and toasted. Remove from the griddle and once it is cool, tear into chunks and put in the bowl with tomatoes.
Season the melon wedges with salt and pepper and griddle for 2 minutes on each side or until tiger-striped from the griddle. Cool.
Put the red pepper strips, charred melon, onion and capers in the bowl with the tomatoes and bread. Tear in the mozzarella and toss. To make the dressing, shake the oil and vinegar in a jar with some salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and then toss. Add the basil leaves just before serving.
Excerpted from Comfort and Joy: Irresistible Pleasures from a Vegetarian Kitchen. Used with the permission of the publisher, Bloomsbury. Copyright © 2023 by Ravinder Bhogal
When you shop using our links, we earn a small commission. It’s a great way to support public media at no extra cost to you!
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.