Mediterranean Pepper Salad

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I have had this recipe in my "to make" file for two years now, and I am glad the wait is finally over.  Only now I am kicking myself for not making it sooner.  This is quite possibly my favorite salad.  I discovered it when Deb of Smitten Kitchen posted it on her blog, and it came at a time when I was thinking exactly what she wrote; green salads are just not doing it for me anymore.  I was also newer to techniques, such as pickling onions, so it was a sort of educational post with a delicious recipe.  It also helps that I am a complete fanatic for a good colored bell pepper. 

This salad, while ideal when made with good, colored bell peppers in their peak, is also good with mediocre bell peppers, which is, sad to say, what I used.  I can't figure out why the peppers I'm growing in my own garden aren't the most awesome peppers I've ever tasted, but we'll just chalk it up to our gardening inexperience.  So back to the salad- it's well dressed and keeps for days in the fridge, and while great the first day, gets even better the second.  It's colorful and makes use of summer vegetables, so it's good that way.  If you have bell peppers in your garden or you find discounted colored ones, or you don't mind paying $2 a pepper, make this ASAP, like yesterday.

*One note- I don't like olives so I put in capers.  I am posting the recipe as I made it; if you like olives, click the recipe title below to be taken to Deb's website, where the original recipe is written.

Mediterranean Pepper Salad
from smitten kitchen

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 a red onion, cut into a 1/2-inch dice (use less if your onion is huge)
3 bell peppers, your choice of colors (I used one red, orange and yellow)
1 kirby or pickling cucumber
1/4-pound firm feta cheese or 4 oz crumbled, if your grocery store is lacking
2 tb- 1/4 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small tomato, diced or a handful of grape tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper to taste

Swish together the red wine vinegar, water, kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the red onion and set it aside.

Meanwhile, time to practice your knife skills. Core and seed your bell peppers and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop the cucumber and feta into similarly-sized chunks. Put your peppers, cucumber, feta, tomatoes and capers in a large bowl.

By now, your onions will have lightly pickled, both sweetening and softening their blow. Drain them and add them to the other vegetables in the large bowl, but reserve the vinegar mixture. Pour a quarter cup of the vinegar mixture over the salad, then drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste. Toss evenly and serve at once, or let the flavors muddle together in the fridge for a few hours.

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