Because of its deep flavor, long-aged true balsamic vinegar is used sparingly as a condiment on finished dishes, as in this recipe. Lesser-aged true balsamic vinegars or high-quality supermarket balsamics are widely available and are suitable for cooking.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped (optional)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 5 to 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Balsamic vinegar, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Pinch of sugar (if boiling zucchini)
- 4 young, tender zucchini, about 1 pound total, diced or cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 Preheat a broiler.
- 2 Put the bell peppers on a baking sheet and broil, turning as needed, until blistered and charred on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, using tongs or a large fork, hold the peppers, one at a time, over the flame of a gas burner and turn as needed until evenly blistered and charred. Transfer the blackened peppers to a brown paper bag and seal loosely, or place in a bowl and cover. Let cool to the touch. Remove the peppers and peel away the charred skin. Slit lengthwise and remove and discard the stems and seeds.
- 3 Finely chop the peppers and put in a serving bowl. Add the garlic, chives and basil to taste, and the olive oil. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- 4 Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add pinches of salt and sugar and the zucchini and boil rapidly until the zucchini is tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain the zucchini well. Alternatively, bring water to a boil in a steamer pan, put the zucchini in a steamer rack over the water, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the rack.
- 5 Add the zucchini to the bell pepper mixture and toss well. Serve immediately.