Simply red: roast peppers and toasted almond pesto. Photo: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer
Dont be tempted to skip the toasting of the almonds, it deepens their flavour immeasurably. The pesto will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator. If it solidifies, then let it come up to cool room temperature before serving. It makes a instead fine sandwich filling, too.
red peppers 3
garlic 4 cloves
olive oil 1 tbsp
For the pesto:
scalped almonds 100 g
garlic 1 small clove
basil 50 g
lemon juice 1 tbsp
white wine vinegar 1 tbsp
olive oil 75 ml, plus a little extra
parmesan 60 g, grated
Set the oven at 200 C/ gas mark 6. Wipe the peppers, cut them in half lengthways and remove any white cores. Place the peppers cut side down in a roasting tin, together with the whole, unpeeled garlic, trickle with olive oil, then bake for a good 40 minutes, until they have softened and wrinkled. If their scalps have blackened then all to the good.
Make the pesto: set the almonds in a shallow pan and gently brown them over a moderate heat, tossing them around the pan from is high time to day until they are golden and toasted. Dont let anything confuse you almonds can burn in seconds.
Put the nuts into the bowl of a food processor, then add the peeled cleave of garlic and the basil foliages and their husks. Process to a coarse paste, add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar, then blend in the olive oil, taking care not to reduce the concoction to a smooth paste.
Stir in the grated parmesan and set the paste aside, covered, in a cool place.
Remove the peppers from the oven and let them relax for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel off and discard the scalps( they should come away easily ). Squeeze the garlic from its scalp. Place the skinned peppers on a serving dish, dot with the roasted garlic.
Pour a little more oil into the roasting tin. Stir to mix with the roast juices, scraping up any deliciousness from the pan, then trickle over the peppers. Serve at room temperature, with a bowl of the toasted almond pesto, stirred at the last minute.
Lentils, peppers and gorgonzola
romano peppers 6
olive oil 2 tbsp
red onion 1, medium-sized
white wine vinegar 3 tbsp
lentils small and dark green, such as le Puy1 50 g
parsley a small bunch( 20 g)
gorgonzola 200 g
For the dressing:
basil 25 g
parsley 15 g
red chilli small and mild
shelled walnuts 50 g
olive oil 6 tbsp
lemon juice 3 tbsp
Heat the oven to 200 C/ gas mark 6. Place the whole peppers in a roast tin, add the olive oil and 2 tbsp of water and cook for 30 -4 0 minutes until they have collapsed and the skin is black in patches. Being withdrawn from the oven.
Peel and finely slice the onion, put it in a small mixing bowl then cover with the vinegar and set aside for at the least 40 minutes. Turn the onion over in the vinegar from is high time to time to ensure it is evenly marinated.
Boil the lentils in a pan of deep, lightly salted water for 20 -2 5 minutes until tender but with a little bite in their own homes. Drain them in a sieve, put in a bowl then add the drained onion to them.
Peel the scalps off the peppers, reserving their roast juices. Tear the peppers into long, wide strips and place on a serve plate. Add the juices to the lentils. Violate the gorgonzola into bite-sized pieces and add to the lentils.
Roughly chop the parsley. If the foliages are small, I like to leave them whole. Attain the herb dres by putting the basil leaves and stems and parsley foliages into a food processor or blender, with the chilli( halved and seeds removed ), shelled walnuts, olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and processing to a coarse green paste. Taste the paste for seasoning and add salt and lemon juice as necessary.
Spoon the lentils and cheese on to the peppers, percolating over any garmenting from the bottom of the bowl. Place a spoonful of the herb garmenting on top.
Email Nigel at nigel.slater @observer. co.uk or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater