Kitty’s Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Salted Lemon Relish

Portrait of Naughty Chickens Naughty Chickens

I have naughty chickens. It would be a reasonable assumption to think that I am referring to my kids, and while there are times you would be correct, in this instance I mean actual fowl.

About a week or two ago we decided that the chickens were old enough to be “free-ranging” in my garden. They were very excited. (Think Disneyland excited.) They ran around like crazy chickens and seemed content to frolic in the dirt, scratch the ground and eat the bugs. Then they discovered the vegetable plants.

While watering the other evening, my husband noticed that leaves on my sweet peppers were gone. I mean totally gone. Like the locusts of the eighth plaque had come and laid siege to the plant. The peppers were still on the branches but the plant was bald. Curiously, it was only the pepper plants that had been targeted. The tomatoes, melons, squash and beans were left untouched. So I put up a wire barrier and hoped that the peppers wouldn’t get scorched by the sun and that was that. Or so I thought.

Last night I came home to find the girls with guilty looks on their faces nestled in the soil between my zucchini and yellow squash plants with tell-tale beak sized pieces missing from the leaves. Now my garden looks like San Quentin with wire all around the plants in the hopes that we might get to eat, as well as our chickens…

If we’re lucky and the peppers survive, I plan to make this recipe. One of my favorite snacks is a great appetizer, a light lunch, or a just the thing for a panini. This recipe is courtesy of one of my favorite chef/teachers, Kitty Morse.

Kitty’s Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Salted Lemon Relish
Serves 6
Preserved lemons and tomatoes are an addictive combination! This is a daily stand-by in my household throughout the tomato season. I usually I roast my own red bell peppers , but there are a number of commercial roasted red peppers on the markets.

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons diced salted lemon rind
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon balsamic or rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 baguette bread, sliced

Finely dice roasted peppers. Combine with the salt, salted lemon rind, tomato, and vinegar. Set aside.

Turn oven on to broil. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil. Cut 12 slices of baguette on a diagonal. Paint each one with olive oil/garlic mixture. Place on a baking sheet.

Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Let cool and top with tomato/bell pepper mixture. Serve immediately.

Copyright Kitty Morse 2008

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