Sherry vinegar has a more complex flavour than regular wine vinegar, with tawny flavour and bright acidity which contrasts perfectly to the sweet peppers and salty bacon. You could also add a cheese like Manchego or blue cheese to elevate the dish slightly or use as an accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken. The quantities required in the recipe will make more dressing than is needed but it will keep in the fridge for a long time if in an air tight container.
4 red Romano peppers (use bell peppers if not available)
Salt and pepper
200g streaky bacon
3 heads baby gem lettuce or 1 large cos lettuce
120g mixed leaf, such as watercress, rocket or lamb’s lettuce
90ml Belazu Sherry Vinegar
200ml Early Harvest Olive Oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 small or ½ large garlic clove, peeled
Set an oven to 200C and allow to come up to temperature. Place the peppers in a bowl, add 1tsp olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and toss to coat. Lay on a baking sheet, place in the oven and roast for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and either cover with a bowl or foil, to make the peppers steam and the skins to loosen. Once cool, hold a pepper by the stem and slide the skins away with the other hand. Remove the stem, then open the pepper and scrape out the seeds. Don’t be tempted to rinse the peppers to remove the seeds as you will also wash away the flavour. Tear the peppers into strips, place in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Lay the bacon on wire rack and place on top of a baking sheet. If you don’t have a wire rack to use, then use a piece of baking paper underneath the bacon to stop it sticking. Roast for 10 – 12 minutes, until cooked and crispy, then remove and set aside.
Trim the base of the baby gem, removing only the faintest edge. Separate all the leaves, rinse in a bowl of cold water, then dry.
To make the dressing, chop the garlic with a little salt and then crush to form a fine paste. Place in a bowl or jar and add the vinegar, oil, salt, sugar and then whisk vigorously or place a lid on top and shake to mix well. Taste and add a little more sugar (or other sweetener such as honey) and mix again.
To bring the salad together, places the salad leaves and peppers, including any juices, in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add around ¼ of the dressing and toss to combine. You only need enough to just coat all the leaves. Arrange between plates and break the bacon into pieces on top.