Sliced ripe tomatoes, alternated with thinly slice mozzarella and dressed in a basil vinaigrette sauce, are one of summer's most refreshing appetizers.
Come fall, try a switch to red peppers and an anchovy-flavored dressing. The result is an equally delicious and colorful appetizer.
In her book Perla Meyers From Market to Kitchen Cookbook (New York: Harper & Row. $15) the author gives seasonal recipes according to what is in the market. In September she suggests a heavy reliance on red bell peppers, available in late summer.
They have a unique smoky flavor that is both mild and interesting and can be used hot with meat and vegetables or cold in salads or as an appetizer, as in the following recipe. Grilled Peppers Vinaigrette 8 to 10 red peppers 1 14-ounce package whole milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced 6 tablespoons fruity olive oil 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 large clove garlic, crushed 1 to 2 teaspoons anchovy paste 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley 8 to 10 Greek black olives for garnish
Preheat broiler. Place peppers on baking sheet and broil until skins are blackened and somewhat charred.
Turn peppers to brown evenly on all sides. As soon as they are roasted, remove and wrap each in a damp paper towel and cool. Remove charred skin, core and remove seeds.
Cut in half lengthwise and place on rectangular serving platter alternating with mozzarella slices.
Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, and 1 teaspoon anchovy paste in small jar. Cover and shake dressing until smooth and well blended.
Taste and correct seasoning. Add remaining teaspoon of anchovy paste if needed, blending thoroughly into dressing.
Spoon dressing over platter with peppers and cheese and sprinkle with onion rounds and parsley.
Garnish with black olives and serve at room temperature as an appetizer with crusty French bread. Serves 6.