2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, finely sliced
6 large crostini
8 ounces fresh goat cheese or ricotta cheese
Flaked sea salt
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the peppers and 1/4 teaspoon of the fine sea salt and cook, turning often, until the peppers have lost all firmness and started to blacken on the edges, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Combine the vinegar, garlic, sugar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper in a large, wide-mouth jar. Add the warm peppers and stir them until they are fully coated with the vinegar mixture. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes, then add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and half of the basil. Stir well, and let it stand for another 30 minutes. Serve immediately or, ideally, cover the jar and chill overnight for maximum flavor. You can store the peppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Before assembling the crostini, bring the marinated peppers to room temperature. Spread the cheese atop the crostini, dividing it evenly, then top with a spoonful of peppers and the remaining basil ribbons. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt and the toasted pine nuts, if you wish.
Note: You can use another sweet pepper in place of the poblano pepper if you wish.
Excerpted from The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini, photographs by Matthew Benson. Workman Publishing © 2016.