This mixed greens salad with smoked ham, black-eyed peas and a roasted red pepper dressing is quick to assemble for a light lunch or side dish.
Roasting the red peppers and lacing them with balsamic vinegar gives an appealing touch of sweetness to the dressing. It's a real winner; try it in other preparations, for example over grilled chicken or shellfish.
The recipe is among a selection of around 75 in ''Quick From Scratch Soups & Salads'' (Food & Wine Books, $25.95). Recipes are organized in chapters for vegetable and legume soups, fish and shellfish soups, poultry and meat soups, green salads and other salads. Each dish is shown in a glossy full-page color photo.
Mixed Greens With Smoked Ham, Black-Eyed Peas, and Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
1 red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 pound mixed salad greens (about 4 quarts)
1/4-pound piece smoked ham, such as Black Forest, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin strips
3/4 cup drained and rinsed black-eyed peas (from a 15-ounce can)
Roast the pepper over a gas flame or grill or broil it, turning with tongs until charred all over, about 10 minutes. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, pull off the skin. Remove the stem, seeds and ribs. Cut the pepper into pieces.
In a blender, combine the roasted pepper, the garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and black pepper. Puree until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the greens with the ham and black-eyed peas. Serve the salad with the dressing spooned over the top.
Makes 4 servings
Note: If you prefer, you may use frozen black-eyed peas. Cook them according to package directions, drain and let cool before adding them to the salad. You could also substitute black beans or kidney beans.
''Quick From Scratch Soups & Salads'' available by mail from (800) 737-0310.
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