“Preparing braaied or charred peppers on the fire is very easy and once done they are like a utility back in a rugby team, quite versatile. There are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to braai or, more accurately, char peppers. It makes the process easier to separate the tough skin from the silky flesh of sweet peppers. They also become even sweeter through the process of caramelisation. It makes them softer. And it gives them a smoked fire taste. In summary, braaing peppers transforms them from good to great.” – Jan Braai
- 3 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green)
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 200 g baby spinach (this is not an exact science; use more if you are rabbit-like and fond of leaves)
- 1 tin chickpeas (drained and washed under cold running water)
- 1 red onion (sliced thinly)
- 1 cup pitted olives
- a few basil leaves (torn)
- 1 tub feta cheese (200 g, drained)
- 2 tots olive oil
- 1 lemon (juice)
- 2 tots balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Place the peppers on a grid, or skewer them on your grandfather’s sword from the war and suspend them over flames until blackened on all sides. You will obviously need to turn them now and again to expose all sides to the flames.
- Once blackened on all sides, place the peppers into a plastic bag, close the bag and leave for 20 minutes to cool down.
- While you wait, roast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over a hot fire for a few minutes until they start to smell fantastic. Here and there they will also start to pop. Immediately remove from the pan and let them wait somewhere tranquil like in a bowl, plate or mug.
- Peel the skins off the peppers (they will come off easily) and cut them open. Scrape out and discard all the unsavoury innards and seeds, and then cut the flesh into chunky blocks. Here and there you will have bits of charred skin left on the flesh. This is fine and part of the final flavour.
- Place the spinach in a bowl and add the charred pieces of pepper, chickpeas, red onion, olives and basil, and mix everything together.
- Sprinkle the roasted pumpkin seeds and crumbled feta over the salad.
- Dress with high-quality South African olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.
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