Roasted red peppers Holst family favourite

SIMON HOLST
Last updated 08:02 12/02/2013

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Made when peppers are at their best, these taste as good as they look. (There hasn't been a summertime Holst family gathering where these haven't featured on the menu for years!).

You can use larger peppers if you want to serve them as a side dish or, if you select smaller peppers, they make great finger food. Alison's original version included the anchovies, but if you want a vegetarian version, omit the anchovies and use the feta instead.

ROASTED RED PEPPERS

For 4-6 servings:

4-6 red, yellow or orange peppers

8-16 basil leaves

8-12 anchovy fillets, (optional)

16-24 capers

6 medium fresh or canned tomatoes

OR 8-24 canned cherry tomatoes

2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

8-16 black olives

about 50g cubed or crumbled feta (optional)

about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small bunch fresh basil leaves

Halve peppers lengthwise, cutting through the stems so they remain intact. Remove pith and seeds. Lay the peppers in one layer in a shallow roasting dish.

Place a basil leaf in the bottom of each pepper. Cut the anchovy fillets into pieces and place on the basil, then divide the capers between the peppers.

If using fresh tomatoes, blanch to remove skins and cut in halves or quarters. If using canned cherry tomatoes, they can be used whole, or cut larger canned tomatoes lengthways, and shake out the seeds and liquid. Place tomatoes, cut side down, in the peppers. Add an olive, a slice or two of garlic and some of the cubed or crumbled feta (if using) to each halved capsicum. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil over each.

Bake uncovered, at 200'C for about 30 minutes, until the peppers are lightly charred at the edges. Spoon any liquid which is around the peppers into them.

Refrigerate if necessary, and warm to desired temperature before serving or serve at room temperature. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Serve alone or with chunks of bread roll to mop up all the delicious juices.

THAI-STYLE LAMB AND RICE NOODLE SALAD

This delicious salad really is very simple to make - the only actual cooking required is the lamb steaks, and this is hardly over-complicated. Simon originally used to make a version of this with grilled chicken, but recently tried it with lamb (which is very reasonably priced at present), and we think the result is even better! For 2-3 servings:

Marinade

1 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

about 400g lamb leg steaks

Salad

100g rice vermicelli

1 medium telegraph cucumber

1 medium-large carrot, julienned

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1/2 cup each chopped coriander leaves and mint

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

chopped peanuts to garnish

Dressing:

2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

1 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 clove garlic, grated

2-3 Tbsp lime juice

Measure the first four ingredients into a sturdy plastic bag and mix to combine. Add the lamb, then massage the bag so it is coated with the marinade. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, then leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Place the rice vermicelli in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes or until the noodles are tender, then rinse with cold water, drain well and return to the bowl.

While the noodles soak, make the dressing by measuring all the ingredients in a screw-topped jar and shaking to combine.

Heat a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. Oil the hot pan lightly, then lift the lamb from the marinade and place them in the hot pan. Cook for 2-2 1/2 minutes per side (depending on how well you like your lamb cooked). Remove the lamb from the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

While the lamb rests, halve the cucumber lengthways, then scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and cut into slices 5mm thick. Add the sliced cucumber, finely julienned carrot, chopped coriander leaf, mint and sliced spring onions. Pour in about half of the dressing and toss to combine.

Divide the salad between serving plates. Holding a sharp knife so the blade is at about 45 degrees to the board, cut the lamb into 5-7mm- thick slices then arrange the sliced lamb on top of the salad. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, then garnish with chopped peanuts and serve.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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