My husband said it best, “This is not just a salad. It’s an experience!” The dynamic combination of sweet and savory flavors prompts an explosion of the senses. Oh my!
I can’t honestly take credit for this masterpiece. I’ve done my best to recreate an experience presented by the talented chefs at Jimmy P’s Charred of Naples.
If we’re being honest here, I should also mention that this salad is not super simple. Essentially, it involves the preparation of three independent recipes: pickled onions, roasted red bell pepper vinaigrette as well as the salad build itself.
But before you get your panties in a bunch, grab a glass of wine and commit to the experience of the build— you’ll be damn glad you did!
Can You Use Raw Onions Instead of Pickled?
The short answer: yes.
However, the integrity of the flavor profile is dependent upon the pickled red onions. Pickling the onions adds complexity and balance to the salad. Therefore, I wouldn’t personally opt-out of the pickling (yes it’s time consuming— but I assure you— it’s SO worth it).
The good news: you may be able to get your hands on store-bought pickled onions— and if that’s the case, by all means— save yourself the time girl!
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Homemade Pickled Red Onions
Yield: 3 cups onions | Serving Size: 2 Tbsp onions
Calories: 18 | Fat: 0g | Carb: 4g | Protein: 0g | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g
- 1 large red onion
- 3 Tablespoons star anise
- 4 Tablespoons whole cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons black peppercorn
- 2 Tablespoons whole coriander
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 2 dried arbol chilis
- 2 Tablespoons dried hibiscus (optional)
- 3 cups vinegar (I’ve chosen red wine and champagne vinegar)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- Wrap all spices (excluding salt) securely in cheesecloth. Tie off with a piece of string or a rubber band.
- Pour the water and vinegar in a large pot.
- Whisk in sugar and toss in spice wrap.
- Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. While boiling, julienne cut the onion and place it in a glass jar.
- After 5 minutes, remove the liquid from the heat and whisk in the salt.
- Remove wrap and strain if necessary.
- Pour the liquid over the sliced onion and seal up the jar.
- Place the jar in the refrigerator and wait for the magic to happen.
The longer you wait the more complex the flavor. I would recommend waiting at least 2 hours before consuming them. 24 hours will be even better. Saves 2+ weeks.
Can You Use Store-Bought Vinaigrette?
You can (providing you can get your hands on it). But I can’t vouch for the flavor. Honestly, I thought about going this route when I discovered Annie’s Naturals makes a creamy roasted red bell pepper vinaigrette. However, one look at the ingredients had me quickly reconsidering. The problem with most store-bought dressings is that they’re made with low-grade oils such as vegetable, canola, or sunflower all of which are highly processed (which equates to trans fats). So basically you’re taking an otherwise clean salad and adulterating it with super unhealthy fat.
In my opinion, you’re better off making your own roasted red bell pepper vinaigrette. That way you’ll be assured a clean and delicious product.
Roasted Red Bell Pepper Vinaigrette
Yield: 1 cup | Serving Size: 1 Tbsp
Calories: 77 | Fat: 8g | Carb: 1g | Protein: 0g | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 0g
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted (see below)
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- Roast the peppers as instructed below.
- Peel and mince shallot.
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
- Blend until fully combined (about 30 seconds).
- Store in a glass jar, and keep refrigerated.
Saves 3-5 days.
Roasted Red Bell Peppers [Oven or Air Fryer]
Yield: 2 peppers | Serving Size: 1 pepper
Calories: 62 | Fat: 4g | Carb: 8g | Protein: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Fiber: 1g
The recipe below is for oven preparation. Click here for air fryer preparation.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Wash bell peppers thoroughly and pat dry.
- Brush peppers with olive oil (or use fingers in place of brush).
- Place peppers on baking sheet and place in oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Pull peppers from the oven, gently flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Once blistered, remove from oven and place peppers in a ziplock bag. Seal and allow them to cool.
- Once cooled, peel the skin. Discard the skin and seeds.
Eat immediately or drizzle with olive oil and store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Now that you’ve got the pickled onions and roasted red bell pepper vinaigrette, it’s time to construct your masterpiece!Print
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