ROASTED PEPPERS WITH MINT VINAIGRETTE AND GOAT CHEESE CROUTONS
Colorful sweet bell peppers, available for much of the year, make a lovely first course. Fresh mint is a surprise with the sweet peppers, and goat cheese croutons add a creamy dimension. You could also serve the goat cheese croutons topped with the minted pepper mixture on a serving platter.
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
6 red or yellow bell peppers or a combination, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Goat Cheese Croutons:
3/4 cup fresh goat cheese or herbed cream cheese, at room temperature
18 1⁄4-inch-thick slices French or sourdough baguette, lightly toasted
Fresh mint sprigs
To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and mint in a bowl and mix well. Slowly add oil in a steady stream, whisking until incorporated and emulsified. Add salt and pepper, whisk to combine, and taste for seasoning.
Place peppers in a bowl and pour dressing over them. Marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, make the croutons: Spread cheese on bread slices. Drain peppers and place them on a serving platter. Arrange croutons around outside of platter. Garnish peppers with mint sprigs and serve.
A steely, crisp Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent match for the peppers.