Although this January seems colder than previous winters, the brightness of the light remains unique with the sun still making an appearance for a few hours a day. And the color of Mediterranean winter vegetables, almost surreal, never fail to capture the depths of my imagination.
There is a great variety of fresh vegetables available in the local market this week and here I use roasted bell peppers in a variety of colors, spinach, beetroot, freshly picked mint and top it all with peppered sheep cheese and pink peppercorns from the huge Baie Rose tree just outside the front door.
You will need :
1 yellow pepper
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
1 red pepper
2 beetroots, cooked and peeled
2 handfuls fresh chopped spinach
A handful of very fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 orange finely slices with skin on
Olive oil, as much or as little as you prefer
1 peppered goats cheese ( gbejna )
Salt and pepper to season
Place the bell pepper on a roasting tray covered with foil. Do not pierce. Roast in a very hot oven until they soften and start to brown. Remove from oven. Cool down and peel. If you do not live in a place with high humidity levels like ours, place the peppers in a plastic bag, seal until the peppers completely cool down and peel.
Wash the beetroot, immerse with cold water, and cook it on high heat until the water starts to boil. Turn dine the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not overcook. Allow to cool and then peel.
Peel the roasted peppers, remove seeds and cut them into long strips. Wash the spinach leaves and chop. Place on your salad plate and add fresh mint. Slice the beetroot and arrange on the bed of spinach. Roll up the strips of peppers and arrange on the plate. Add a slice of orange. Add shavings of peppered cheese. Mix the orange juice with one spoon of olive oil. Pour over vegetables. Top with more olive oil as desired, season to taste and finally add the Rose peppercorns. Garnish with more fresh mint.