grilled pepper and torn mozzarella panzanella

This salad is not here to break the internet. Even among my friends, roasted sweet red peppers seem to be a perplexingly hard sell, although I hope all roasted pepper resistors are not basing their impressions on the jarred ones — those slippery things shouldn’t even rank. Because it’s the year 2017, I’m sure at least half of the people we know at any given time aren’t eating bread, so that’s not going to go over well either. I’m not sure why people — even my own father — loathe capers, but I bet I will soon find out. I understand that lots of people don’t like onions, even marinated and grilled lovelies, in salads. I know we all agree on mozzarella, at least. (Phew.)

what you'll needtossed with oil, salt, and pepperpeppers and onions smell amazingget a lot of char on itgrilled breadpeppers, mostly peeled

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years writing recipes and sending them out into the world, it’s that not all dishes will stop everyone in our tracks and cause us to reroute our entire day to ensure it ends with this. Not all dishes elicit, or need to elicit, popular fervor.

mix it up

But do know that I love this enough for me and you and everyone else. This is one of my favorite things I’ve made in quite some time and in the years before I finally got this the way I wanted, it gnawed at me. I just couldn’t figure out how I wanted to put it together. It’s one part my mother in-laws pickled garlicky red peppers. It’s one part this mozzarella roasted red pepper salad we used to get at a local restaurant before they changed it. It’s one part panzanella, a Tuscan salad with croutons that usually shows off summery things like tomatoes. And it’s one part this Alison Roman (anyone else excited about her book? I am, I am) recipe from Bon Appetit, which is how the chives and sherry vinegar got here. And it’s one part that time of the year when all meals cooked outside taste infinitely better than those cooked on a stove. I hope you agree. And if you do not, I will take all of your leftovers in a heartbeat. I’m going to be eating this all summer.

grilled pepper and torn mozzarella panzanella


Panzanellas and bread salads, previously: Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella, Spring Panzanella, Winter Panzanella,Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons, Corn Bread Salad, and Summer Succotash with Bacon and Croutons.

One year ago: Cucumber Yogurt Raita Salad and Chicken Gyro Salad
Two years ago: Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles and Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
Three years ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas
Four years ago: Lobster and Potato Salad
Five years ago: Tzatziki Potato Salad and Rhubarb Snacking Cake
Six years ago: Strawberry Summer Cake and Spring Salad with New Potatoes
Seven years ago: Mushroom Crepe Cake, Braided Lemon Bread, Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta, and Mint, and Rustic Rhubarb Tarts
Eight years ago: Almond-Raspberry Layer Cake, Asparagus, Lemon and Goat Cheese Pasta, and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
Nine years ago: Martha’s Macaroni and Cheese, Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies, and Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Ten years ago: Cellophane Noodle Salad with Roasted Pork and Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche
1.5 Years Ago: Pecan Pie, Roasted Leek and White Bean Galettes, Date Breakfast Squares, Parsley Pecorino Biscuits, and Potato Kugel
2.5 Years Ago: Classic Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Sauce, Crispy Sweet Potato Roast, and Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble
3.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs, Parsley Leaf Potatoes, and Sweet Potato Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
4.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Feta Fritters with Pomegranate and Cashew Butter Balls

Grilled Pepper and Torn Mozzarella Panzanella

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Print

Further ideas: Throw a fresh hot pepper into the grilling mix for a spicy salad. You could also stir in an ounce of thinly sliced spicy salami into the final salad.

    To grill
  • 4 1-inch slices bread, country-style
  • 3 large red bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • To finish
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons capers, drained (rinsed if salted)
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces, or 4 ounces bocconcini
  • Fresh herbs — snipped chives, basil, or parsley or a mix thereof — to finish (optional)

Prepare vegetables: Place bread, pepper halves, and onion wedges in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt and many grinds (or about 1/4 teaspoon) black pepper. Use your hands to toss everything together until oil coats everything.

To grill: Heat your grill to medium-high, or if yours is small and dinky like mine, high heat. Spread peppers and onions across grill grates and grill, lid down, flipping as needed, until onions are charred in spots (they’ll be done first) and peppers are blistered and blackened in many spots and beginning to soften. Transfer onions to a plate as they’re done; transfer peppers to a bowl. Use bread in bowl to swipe up any excess salt, pepper, and/or oil in it and place slices on grill. Grill until toasted on both sides. Transfer to plate with onions.

No grill? You can do all of the above under your broiler, or in your oven at 450 degrees F. Broilers vary wildly in how robust their heat is, so keep an eye on it. Vegetables tend to take longer in the oven, up to 40 minutes, but check in at 20 to be safe. In both cases, turn vegetables and bread as needed to get an even color.

Marinate peppers: Place foil or a lid over peppers in bowl to trap heat. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove as much of the skin as you can. This is unquestionably the most annoying part so do only as much as would bother you to have to eat. (For me, this is almost every speck but you’re probably less crazy.) Cut peppers into 1/2- to 1-inch wide strips.

In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (and more to taste), and garlic. Add capers. Add peppers to bowl and let them marinate for as little as 5 minutes or up to a day, even. The longer they souse, the more pickled they’ll taste. After 5 minutes, however, they still have plenty of flavor.

To assemble and serve: Shortly before you’re ready to eat the salad, add onions to the bowl with the peppers. Tear bread into chunks and add to bowl, along with mozzarella. Mix gently, making sure the dressing coats the bread. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Finish with herbs and serve in big heaps.

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140 comments on grilled pepper and torn mozzarella panzanella

  1. Denise

    This is so beautiful I’m going to try it despite several of the trepidations you mentioned in the first paragraph. It’s a summertime pepper adventure.

  2. briarrose1987

    So I’m “that guy” and everything about this sounds awesome EXCEPT the cheese. I’m off dairy for the foreseeable future and I don’t think the standard plant based cheeses would hold up subbing for good fresh mozzarella. Do you think throwing some tofu in to marinate with the peppers and grilling or baking it would work? Obviously I would have a different salad but I’m hoping it would be close to the spirit of the original.

    1. deb

      I actually think this is 100% great without the cheese. It’s nice here, but there’s totally enough flavor without it. You can use tofu, of course, too.

      1. Annie

        I’ve made this THREE times since you posted this 5 days ago!! It’s that good. And, since I was having this as a side dish, I did leave out the cheese (and the capers, since I was out, but do think they’d be great) and it was super delicious! The dressing was amazing and so simple…and I’m one of those weird people who like the grilled part of peppers, so I just cut them up, and threw them in the marinade for a few minutes before adding the rest of the bread and onions.

    2. Nicole R

      I have to lol because I had exactly the same thought! Everything sounds lovely except the cheese! Where cheese is a cooling, creamy component I usually use avocado, but that doesn’t seem quite right here. Maybe a softer tofu? I’m eager for Deb’s thoughts, too, because this is otherwise my perfect salad (Bread! Pickled things! Grilled things! Capers!)

    3. Jules

      If you can get your hands on a block of mozzarisello (rice-based, dairy-free mozzarella substitute), it would probably work.

      Or what about some big soft white beans?


    My husband is on a roasted red pepper kick and has been eating them out of the jar for the last 2 weeks, that’s how desperate he is. I promise to be a good wife and make this for him this weekend with the real deal fire roasted red peppers. I just know he’s gonna flip! Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Franziska

    Hi Deb, this sounds delicious. But I am puzzled about covering the peppers in a bowl. Can you explain that step? If I want to skin roasted peppers I usually place them skin down on a cool plate straight from the oven and it works rather well…?

    1. deb

      I honestly only do the bowl thing like 25% the time, but I know most people find it easier — that the trapped steam helps the skins come off. I’m usually roasting mine in the oven and just leave them on the tray until cool, then the skin comes off easily. Long story short: do what works for you.

      1. Marja

        Hola Guapas! This is what my Spanish mother-in-law encouraged me to follow: once the entire peppers without seeds look good and with some black spots on their skin in the oven (20+15 min,), you just wrap them in humified household paper. Once the paper is dry – just a few minutes – the skins come off beautifully.

    1. deb

      The marinade is the dressing (for the whole salad, and also to soak the croutons) and is also to lightly pickle the peppers. Pickled peppers will be hard to grill, and you’re not going to want to pickle them with the skins on.

  5. Jennifer

    I am that person who will stop in my tracks to prepare this recipe exactly as written! Always looking for variations on traditional panzanella, and being a tomato-hater, this is perfect. I think the cheese is a lovely addition. This has been an SK kind of week-made your tomato and sausage risotto Monday and the lentils with squash and burrata Tuesday. Yum!!

  6. Elizabeth

    What is country style bread? (Sorry if that’s a silly question) what other types of bread would work? Thank you.

    1. deb

      Any rustic white bread — usually a free-form loaf that’s got a moderate sturdiness to it. But really, most breads work. If you’ve got ciabatta, use it (I think I did), or even sourdough.

  7. We LOVE red peppers in this house. Happily, they are fairly cheap in these parts (€1-⁄1.50 per kilo), and we grow our own in the summer.
    We have a big grill, so I do peppers when we are grilling something for dinner and stick the peppers on when the main dish is done, and let them cook slowly over the fading (but still very hot) embers. It helps keep them from burning through in spots while not getting cooked enough in others to peel. They don’t get eaten right away anyway, because you have to let them cool (I find a paper bag works great for getting the skin to separate from the flesh).

  8. Elizabeth

    I usually cut the ends of the peppers and save them for something else, then flatten them and put them under the broiler for 10-15 minutes, they will blacken all over nicely. Then into a bowl with plastic wrap on top and steam for a while. The skin comes off easily.

  9. Imogen

    Living in Australia, this recipe was published very early in the morning. So I got up and made it for breakfast. Delicious!
    I didn’t have mozzarella so used Persian feta, but otherwise made it exactly as written and it was fabulous.

  10. Janae

    Quick question: if the peppers can be marinated up to a day, they have to go in the fridge; I’m assuming the rest of the ingredients would, too. So can this be served cold the next day? Sorry if that’s a dumb question! It just seems like a warm or room temp salad. And won’t the bread get soggy?

    1. deb

      You would put the peppers in the fridge. The onions too. The bread can stay out; stale is fine. I realize it’s confusing but I couldn’t not mention how delightfully pickled they’ll get if you let them sit longer.

  11. Jenna

    My parents always complained about what a fussy eater I was as a teenager. Really I was vegetarian but they couldn’t wrap their minds around not wanting to eat meat. I eat any vegetable and this looks incredibly delicious! As for giving up bread- hahaha! – no.

  12. Stacy Koehn

    Yes – this is your best and I can’t wait to make it! It’s all the good things together – perhaps add tomatoes when they are in season – but this is a whole other thing anyway – congratulations and thank you for sharing.

  13. Heather Shay

    The new video ad is incredibly annoying. I wouldn’t mind if it went through once. But it runs continuously! I couldn’t find a way to shut it off. It’s now running two places on the post!

    1. deb

      I’m sorry — it doesn’t sound like it’s working the way it should. I will have my ad guys take a look. In the meanwhile, they always tell me that the fastest way to get an annoying ad blocked is to let us know the clickthrough URL of the ad. This is because different ads show in different places, so we’re not getting a bad ad on our end this morning. If you don’t want to (understandably) click on the ad, what you can do is right-click on it and select “copy link address” to get the information. Thank you!

  14. Molly

    Two questions: Regarding the fresh mozzarella, you used the softer, imported kind. In your opinion, is the more expensive imported brand significantly better than the firmer kind? I usually buy the cheaper option but had the Italian one in my hand at the grocery yesterday. Alas, I couldn’t decide so didn’t purchase. #2: I pre-ordered your book. Followed the directive to send an e-mail to receive bonus recipe. Not in any kind of demanding rush for it. Just confirming that eventually one will be coming. Sorry so long. Thanks!

    1. deb

      In reverse order: 2. Thank you! The cards we are sending out went to the printer this week. We had to wait until the “sweepstakes” (legal term) ended (5/30) so we knew how many to order. They’ll be in late next week and will go out very quickly after. 1. It depends on what you’re using it for. For pizza, I like firmer stuff, preferably not in water. The water adds too much wetness to pizza. For tearing, firmer stuff might be better too. For salads, I like the stuff in water that’s a little softer. And when I’m being extra indulgent, I made the mistake of buying important buffalo mozzarella two summers ago. I need to take a proper picture of it but you can see it faintly in the background in this one. It comes in 8.8oz/250 gram packages and has 5 oval balls inside and they are as almost luxurious and soft-centered as burrata but still sliceable and it’s ruined us. It was all wrong for tearing for this salad, though, too soft. Tasted great, though.

  15. Sara

    Well, I like everything in this and would be delighted to eat it. :)
    I’ve actually never kept sherry vinegar at home though – is red wine vinegar a good substitute?

  16. Dana

    (Most of it) looks delicious! Yes, I’m part of the “No capers, please” brigade. Thanks for a great summer recipe.

  17. I’m not sure what is wrong with all the folks not eating roasted sweet red peppers! What a concentration of flavour, cool colour… many people missing out! I love panzanella and thanks for a new twist on it to jazz it up!

  18. fabricwoman

    It’s hard to beat your ‘Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella’ which I have made and loved many times. I served it at the lunch break at an indigo-dyeing class in
    my yard a couple of years ago, it was a huge hit. Several women hand-copied your recipe to take home, they loved it so much!
    I haven’t tried grilled peppers in the panzanella, although I try to run a few veggies across the grill when my husband is done cooking steaks.
    Love your recipes, Deb!

  19. You’re not getting MY LEFTOVERS! I’ll be hogging this all for myself. I don’t have an aversion to any of the ingredients — except maybe the skin on the peppers. So I’ll grill them whole and sweat off the skins in a paper bag — beyond that, I’m good! Thank you, Deb – beautifully done as usual!

  20. sparkgrrl658

    i once read something about capers that read like “if something tastes good with capers, it will taste even better without them.”

    if anyone knows where that’s from, feel free to let me know! it made me laugh and for me personally, i find it to be true. i don’t hate capers, but i don’t love them. i do prefer them “frizzled” over uncooked anyhow – in which you get a little olive oil very hot in a pan and carefully add the capers and let them sizzle until they’re crispy. they turn into these simultaneously crunchy and melt in your mouth salty bits.

    but they could be gone tomorrow and i wouldn’t care. the good thing though is, you don’t need to substitute them ever, imo. you can just leave them out and any recipe is just as good. (or better if you don’t like them to begin with ;))

    with you on the rest though, and deb’s panzanellas are always outstanding. one of my favorite all time SK recipes is easily the spring panzanella, for instance. and definitely roast your own peppers! it’s easy and so good. the ones in the jar taste like nothing at all to me. it’s actually kind of incredible how they’ve managed to suck out every bit of flavor from them.

    1. deb

      Nothing bad. I was worried if the onions pickled too — and, of course, pickled onions are absolutely delicious, and grilled pickled, probably even more so — it might be a little more one-note since all pickled things have that zing in common. But it probably isn’t a big deal.

  21. Jeanne Naft

    I love panzanella – no wait, I LOVE panzanella. It why I love salad pizza. Thanks for the panzanella recipes. Will also make this all summer long. I’m S-M-I-T-T-EN.

      1. sparkgrrl658

        i don’t know, but two things came to mind –
        a.) pizza with salad on it (pizza topped with arugula or baby spinach and the like, where it’s piled on fresh, not cooked with the pizza) or
        b.) how panzanella kind of is “pizza salad” – bread, tomatoes, cheese, herbs/seasoning…baked in an oven flatly it’s pizza, but stirred together in a bowl it’s a salad! which totally means it’s healthy ;)

  22. Hi Deb, this looks lovely but I don’t have a grill or plans to get one anytime soon. Do you think this could work even half as well in a frying pan or oven? If so, should I change the cooking temp/times much? And thanks so much for all your great recipes and stories! All my best and most popular recipes come from your site, and I’m always directing people here :)

  23. Angela

    Holy cow Deb! I had no idea peppers could taste this good. I went to bed dreaming about this dinner – it will be my summer dinner for sure

  24. dobiedawn

    I used two red and one green bell pepper, due to pantry supply, and thought they worked beautifully. I also did not put the bread slices in the initial olive oil toss with the peppers and onions (afraid they would greedily soak up too much of the oil). There was plenty of leftover oil in the tossing bowl to do the bread later. I forgot to add the capers, but the salad still turned out great–beautiful colors and fantastic balance of textures and flavors. Thanks, Deb, for a great recipe to start summer.

  25. Irene

    I looooooove everything in this panzanella. But hey, I am Mediterranean and I grew up eating grilled peppers and aubergines macerated in olive oil with a good slice of bread all summer long :)
    I’m making it this week for sure. And I will make sure I have peppers left to make some grilled-pepper-cheese-sandwhiches for Friday evening dinner.

  26. Liz

    I literally just came here to see what to do with a batch of red peppers I just roasted. Pulled up your site and whammo–there it is, top of the page. ;) My other half bought a boat load of them, then left for two weeks on a work trip. This sounds lovely to me, off to the kitchen for pickling. Thanks for reading my mind!

  27. jessie

    This looks fantastic. I happen to have some poblano peppers on hand. If one were to use, say, roasted poblanos and corn bread croutons, would you recommend a different cheese? Maybe cilantro instead of capers? Thoughts?

    Not that the recipe as you’ve presented it doesn’t sound great. I will definitely be trying it.

  28. Amy

    I made it tonight! Whole grain bread, more cheese (because that’s the size I had) and a can of cannellini beans for protein. And olives, to increase my children’s interest in it. It was great, I will definitely make it several more times this summer.

  29. liz

    Made this last night on our new charcoal grill! Wanted more veg tho so grilled pepper, eggplant, zucchini, and mushroom on kabobs and used that with the bread and mozzarella. It was SO GOOD – I think this was the best use of good mozzarella, every bite was perfect!

  30. Pippa

    I think this sounds perfect. All of it. Including the capers and especially the bread. For anyone irked by the trend for no bread, and other current, erm, ‘tendencies’ (and I’m not having a go at people with serious allergies or conditions), I recommend the Angry Chef ( He has a new book coming out (in the UK) shortly (not sure about US) Bad science and the truth about healthy eating.

  31. 2Alexs

    oh my gosh, I can’t wait to make this, stop making me drool & I just ate lunch! You had me at grilled peppers, mozz, capers and all the rest. <3

  32. Alex

    This recipe sounds delicious. All my favorite things in one bowl. I’ve never tried a panzanella though all of yours have tempted me. To manage my expectations… are the croutons in panzanella soggy or crunchy? I picture soggy and it kind of turns me off but if I know it’s supposed to be that way i will go for it. Thanks!!

    1. Jenni

      When I make it, I toss the toasted bread in just at the last minute, so it’s not soggy. It starts to soak up the dressing but stays crisp. After sitting for a while, though, it does get soggy, so eat it right away and you should be fine.

      1. deb

        Agree with all of this. It’s really up to you. You can use more stale bread and grill it “harder” so it absorbs less. You can also toss it in just in the last minute so it doesn’t get soft. It will if it sits for a while.

  33. Jordyn

    So so good! Made this tonight to raves all around. Made exactly as written and it was perfect, only suggestion I might make – for those with larger bbq/grills, cut up the onion however you find easiest to grill ( I personally like large rings).

    I’ve made many MANY recipes from your site and this is without a doubt a top 5 favorite. Use good ingredients (good cheese, good bread, in season peppers etc.) and this is a perfect summer side. Would like a bowl full of just the marinated bread right now… Also fantastic with a 2 month old and 2 year old I was able to make this in stages without ruining anything :)

  34. J

    Made this yesterday! I used rice vinegar instead of sherry (like a lot of people, I didn’t have sherry), had some leftover (week old!) rosemary bread, and totally forgot to put in the mozzarella. We used these giant capers, and it worked out beautifully.

    Probably going to make this all summer long.

  35. erin

    Deb – I made this last night with your gyro chicken. Perfect way to cap off the weekend! I changed nothing (ok ok, I used white wine vinegar as I had no sherry vinegar), regret nothing. And I was never so excited for leftovers at lunch! Thank you for this great recipe!

    Btw – Have you tried Julia Turshen’s whipped feta yogurt dip (spin off in Small Victories)? I had that on the side for the chicken. So so good!

  36. Lindsey

    This recipe may not have broken the internet, but it broke me! I am (well, was) a long time bell pepper hater… ok, perhaps a bell pepper barely-tolerater… I wasn’t a fan. But I figured, if anyone can make me love ’em, it’s Deb, and boy was I right.

    This was absolutely sensational! I wouldn’t change a thing. Don’t be tempted to skip that little pinch of sugar; I’m convinced it plays a special role, and for the love of all things briny and salty, don’t skip the capers! I don’t have an outdoor grill, so I used a cast iron grill pan on high heat and made sure to really char the crap out of the veggies. It was totally worth smoking up my 400 square foot studio in the process. I’m a convert! Also, grilled bread. Must eat more grilled bread.

  37. I have to be the weird one that loves the strong flavour of red peppers hahaha Even if i only going to prepare a simple grilled chicken breast I like to add some red peppers and onions cut in strips.

    I guess i will try this recipe!

  38. Christine

    This is really a comment for the Cup of Jo post about pet peeves. Seriously when I read that all I could think about is people who comment and tick “I MADE THIS!”…but sadly didn’t on the Smitten Kitchen website. It is baffling to me.

      1. Christine

        Maybe you didn’t read her post. It basically is a venting of all life’s annoyances, many of them completely uncalled for and irrational by the ‘annoyee’. Often when I read the comments for your recipes on the “I MADE THIS” tab I see people who comment saying “Can’t wait to make this”. It falls into that category for me….fit of rage. Haha. I assumed you guys had a lot of cross over readers.

        1. deb

          Ah! No, I still haven’t seen that post (and thought I was all caught up on her site) Found it! Hilarious. I would assume in most cases that a comment is in the wrong category a software or clerical error. This is a new feature they built for my site (the self-sorting) and it didn’t go through rigorous rounds of testing etc. It doesn’t always work the way it should. I can usually move comments when I see them in the wrong place, but from the admin panel (where I read them), it’s not clear what they’re sorted under. If I’ve missed one, definitely let me know.

          Also, my pet peeve isn’t a sound, but more of a trend I hate: giant ice cubes in cocktails. “Mmm… this tastes so gooTWUNK-IN-THE-NOSE.” I eagerly await the death of this trend.

  39. Beth

    I cannot WAIT to make this beautiful salad. It brought back a fond memory that I’d like to mention for the “further ideas” section. A favorite restaurant in my city used to serve a Pimento & Anchovy Salad that I was in LOVE with. It was very simple, roasted red peppers with anchovy strips dressed with a light vinaigrette. The briny anchovies against the sweet peppers was AMAZING. So if you don’t have capers, it might be fun to toss in some chopped anchovies for a different spin on this great dish. Thanks, Deb. Love following you!

  40. Okay Deb, I made this and took it to a Booster Meeting. It was delicious. I used balsamic vinegar, I had no sherry and neither did the grocery. Here’s my dilemma, my peppers were soft and it didn’t look as appetizing. Did I roast them too long? I did cut the slices to thin after looking at yours. I will make it again because it was delicious and I love this sort of thing. I just wanted it to look better. Kelly

  41. jessie

    Had this last night for dinner and it was great. I roasted the peppers and onions because it was raining. I also added in some greens. Delish.

  42. sparkgrrl658

    hi deb, bit of a…clerical question? technical?

    in my notifications tab for wordpress in addition to replies, i now also see that a few people have “liked” my comments on a few of your posts. but when i read comments i have moused all over them looking for a star or a heart to click to like back and came up empty. is the option to “like” staring me in the face? a special thing only certain users get? a complete figment of my imagination?

    any help/advice is appreciated :)
    ps, i filed this under “i have a question” but as the question isn’t recipe-related, feel free to remove it from this section as you see fit.

    1. deb

      Nope, I don’t know anything about this either! I wonder if they’re on WordPress and reading it through WordPress’s internal reader and that’s an option. I can take a look later and report back.

      1. sparkgrrl658

        oh maybe! i also wondered if it was a mobile thing, as i tend to save recipe reading for when i’m on my laptop. i also see in my little comment reply dashboard here there’s a star below your reply with the option to “like.” curious!

  43. Debby

    Made this today for lunch and it was great! My daughter walked by and started stealing bites! Used white wine vinegar because the sherry vinegar has migrated somewhere, and we were out of capers, but it was still wonderful. I was in a rush and was getting frustrated by removing the pepper skin. Wonder if it would work as well to peel them before charring. I have a peeler that works on thin-skinned stuff like tomatoes. I have one red pepper left, so will give that a try this weekend.

  44. Ana

    Hi Deb!
    Where I’m from (Portugal) grilled bell peppers (all colors) are a common side dish in summer, when you make grilled fish or or meat.
    They’re delicious, and a tip we use here to peal them is to grill them entire and keep rotating them on the grill (every 2-5 minutes), when you deem them ready you place them inside a plastic bag and seal it. The condensation will help the thin skin to loose and it will be much easier to remove. After that we season it with olive oil, minced garlic and a bit of vinegar. It’s awesome.

    Still, I loved this recipe and I’m definitely going to try it!

    1. jessie

      If it’s lousy weather or you don’t have a grill, peppers can be roasted on a gas stove. It’s not quite as yummy, but definitely works. You can adjust the flame as you go. But just put the pepper directly onto the stove and, as Ana suggested, keep rotating it.

      1. sparkgrrl658

        that’s how i roast all my peppers too, on my gas stove. to anyone new at this (sorry to comment hijack!), a few obvious tips – don’t walk away. keep an eye on any sparks. i find stems tend to catch a (candle level, not kitchen fire level) flame so if this makes you nervous trim them first. and always use high heat safe tongs like stainless steel. now is not the time for plastic! ;)

        then i put the peppers in a tupperware and seal the lid. this is the same as deb’s foil/lid/plastic wrap over a dish method as well as ana’s plastic bag method. you can also put them in a paper lunch bag and roll it up, i’ve read. anything that traps steam so you can scrape the skins off easily will work.

  45. Lyra

    We argued over who would get to make this last week (because we both like to try out the new recipes), but even though I ‘lost’, it didn’t feel like losing out since this was delicious! Husband Alex actually started it early with just the peppers and let them marinade for most of the day, then threw the onions and bread onto the broiler at the last minute, so we had a lovely contrast of cool cheese and marinated peppers to warm bread and onions. Definitely looking forward to making this one again all summer!

  46. I made this this weekend and it was such a hit. Every last morsel was eaten. I was at a friend’s lakehouse so I had to improvise a bit (red wine vinegar instead of sherry and no capers), but the taste of the grilled veggies and bread was so good that you barely even noticed. Will be making again, maybe with a big hunk of burrata in the middle of the tray….

    Thanks Deb! Between this and your southern Portugal restaurant recommendations that were both phenomenal (that Peri Peri chicken joint, omg), this feels like the summer of Smitten Kitchen!

  47. Sarah

    So, this was awesome. The only thing I changed was to leave out the capers (I don’t like them), and to add in a can of butter beans to give it a little more protein (we ate it as a main meal), as well as a few chopped tomatoes to add a bit more moisture.

  48. Karin

    You say this recipe will not break the internet, but all I can think about is when I can make it again. The grilled bread is particularly wonderful.

  49. I loved this! I made it in the broiler and it turned out great. One thing I noticed, if you don’t think you will eat all of this in one sitting, add the torn mozzarella to your individual portions. The longer it stayed in the dressing the more the texture changed. By the next day it was quite crumbly and dry from the pickling!

  50. Eve

    We don’t all agree on ANYTHING. My teenaged child inexplicably dislikes fresh mozzarella and always has. I’ve tried arguing about it but for some reason this doesn’t work.

  51. Erica

    I made this for my family last night, and we all loved it. I added some uncooked tomatoes at the end, and I used champagne vinegar in place of the sherry vinegar because it is what I had on hand.

  52. Nivedita Sahasrabudhe

    Wow! This was so delicious! Every step of the way I could have eaten it as is. Each ingredient I added made it even better. The dressing, which to be honest, I thought was going to be too tart. Nope! So simple and pretty yummy. Then I added roasted peppers. I roasted mine whole on the stove and used drained juices later to the salad just before adding bread. Highly recommend. To save on grill pan clean up just for an onion, I seared the onion wedges in a dry skillet until they got browned on both sides and cooked inside. I used a stale half loaf of olive ciabatta, lightly toasted (though grilled would’ve tasted even better) and a 4 oz ball of burrata as that was what I had around. Cilantro for toppers. So so yummy! Thanks Deb! This was a single-dish lunch on a weekend for our family of four. While everybody else was satiated, this piggy wishes there was more! Next time I’ll either double the recipe, or add something else on the side. Perhaps a frittata.

  53. Robin

    Just made this tonight, and I think I love enough for everyone else, too. So, so delicious. When I make it again, I am going to let the peppers pickle a bit longer, but in any case, still absolutely delicious. I also added prosciutto that kissed the grill (for my meat-eaters), but oh, my word was that ever tasty.

  54. Missy Kenny-Corron

    Love fresh roasted peppers… My Mom made them on the stovetop… then put them in a brown paper bag… most of the skin slipped right off… when they cooled down. I like all the ingredients in this lovely salad.. though lately I find that onions taste better after a short soak in lemon juice then being grilled.. YUM!!!

  55. Ramona

    There is panzanella marinating in the refrigerator right now! It’s my favorite summer salad, well, now I have to make the peppers panzanella salad to see how I like it! Thank you so much!

  56. Stacy Koehn

    Thank you for this upscaled Panzanella! Farmer’s Market had worthy produce today and I am loving the roasted peppers, onion pickled idea – everything mellowing together and can’t wait for first bite – it smells so good can’t imagine how great it will taste. Will make it till the last tomato of the season.

  57. Stacy Koehn

    Wow – just read the recipe again and totally missed it – no tomatoes? I have lovely heirlooms draining to add to vinaigrette – it’s just not Panzanella without tomatoes – though I am so happy to add the pickled, roasted (I did the 450 oven – worked beautifully with tender and fresh peppers and onion) but I’m going to toss all with tomato juices etc – great recipe just can’t do it w/o really good ripe tomatoes in the mix.

  58. Karen

    Made this tonight and we liked it. It is yummy but does take a few steps and might be more greatly appreciated when tomatoes are not at their peak. Next time I will tweak the dressing.

  59. Lara

    nice panzanella option without tomatoes, which is important due to allergies in our house. Our son liked picking out the bread and cheese. He is 14 months old, so I will forgive him for not eating pickled peppers and capers :D I will probably never be the biggest fan of panzanella (not for any of the reasons you give above), but it’s a great option for using up left-over party bread and this was yummy. So thanks again for a great recipe :)

  60. Leigh Ann Cotter

    I made this tonight & it is delicious! I used ciabatta bread, 2 red peppers & one orange because that is what I had on hand. I also didn’t have capers (I like them, just didn’t have any) then topped with fresh basil & Parmesan.
    Served with chicken & apple sausages it was all a perfect summer meal! Thanks Deb! .

  61. Eryn

    This is easily my new favourite salad. I made it for my family, including my picky Italian stepmom and everyone loved it. Will be making it at least once a month for the rest of my life.

  62. Peggy

    I made this salad last night and it is as good as you say. I could easily eat it every night. The only change I made was to add a tomato from our garden because, well, we have so many I figured “Why not?”. Delicious.

  63. Elena Knetl

    Another SK winner. I used mini peppers since that’s what I had. Delicious with your “exceptional grilled chicken”.

  64. mks

    This is one salad we always return to. It’s our Father’s Day, summer birthday, cookout potluck special. I stick to the recipe, grill everything the night before and put it together the next day. It’s always perfect. Thank you for being the source of so many of the recipes we use for family meals and celebrations!

  65. Betty Wilson

    Just made this delicious salad!

    I did not have sherry vinegar so added a tsp of sherry to white wine vinegar. Added a tsp. Of Dijon mustard to dressing so it emulsified.

    I made the whole recipe and it was a lovely dinner salad for two.

    Perfect for hot weather. Do the vegetables and bread early in the day, then is is five minutes to assemble.

    Did I mention it was delicious?

  66. A

    Don’t know if anyone will ever see this, but I feel like others need to know: if you sub gigante beans (thanks, Rancho Gordo) for the bread, this is STILL amazing!

  67. Mom24

    This is absolutely wonderful! I love how it is seasonless. I add quartered Campari tomatoes to it. Next time I want to add some anchovies, capers, tuna and maybe some hard boiled egg and turn it into a main dish. It’s pretty much a main dish as is though. Highly recommend.

    1. Amy

      I made this tonight to have with sausages, but I’m already dreaming of ways to make it the main dish. It’s so so good!

  68. Jodie

    I just got this ready for tonight’s dinner. I love a meal I can prep early and throw together when it’s time to eat. Cooked some Italian sausages since I had the bbq on (I have the same baby bbq/grill as you! It’s perfect for our household of 3 adults), chopped them up and will have them cold, mixed in with everything else. Yum!

  69. Liesl

    OMG! Made this tonight and it was amazing! Yet another one of your recipes that is spot on. It’s going on the “Go To” list.