We seem to be developing a ritual at Action Greensboro to host celebrations with picnics in our own urban playground – Center City Park. We are some of the lucky few that can excuse a walk to the park for work – and I personally love to take advantage of it on sunny days. It was more than sunny this Monday in the park while we celebrated April’s birthday. A picnic spread (complete with tablecloth) of Roasted Pepper Sandwiches, Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Pickled Okra and Peanut Butter Bars. We dined with the mist of the fountain and the view of kids running barefoot under the arches. Not too shabby for a Monday working lunch.
I made Ina Garten’s Recipe for Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches. I used light veggie boursin cheese instead of the goat. It made for a more messy and less tangy addition – I’d go with the goat cheese if I made it again.
- 4 large red or yellow bell peppers, preferably Holland
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 1 large ciabatta bread, halved horizontally
- 1 (11-ounce) garlic-and-herb or plain goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet) at room temperature
- 8 to 10 large basil leaves
- 3 thin slices red onion
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the whole peppers on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred, turning them twice during roasting. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Set aside for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Remove the stem from each pepper and cut them in quarters. Remove the peels and seeds and place the peppers in a bowl along with any juices that have collected. Discard the stems, peels, and seeds. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over the peppers. Stir in the capers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the bottom half of the loaf with the goat cheese. Add a layer of peppers and then a layer of basil leaves. Separate the onions into rings and spread out on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with the top half of the ciabatta and cut into individual servings