LEMON, CUCUMBER AND PEPPER SALAD (Italian insalata di limone, cetriolo e peperone, for four)

 Salads, cucumber, insalata di limone, cetriolo e peperone (Italian cucumber, lemon and red bell pepper salad) 1  Salads, cucumber, insalata di limone, cetriolo e peperone (Italian cucumber, lemon and red bell pepper salad) 2

2 or 3 lemons (depending on size)


1 sweet red bell pepper

2 cucumbers, preferably the so-called English variety without seeds

extra-virgin olive oil

black pepper in a grinder

1 tablespoon parsley chopped coarse

1. Wash the lemons and slice them, with the rind on, as thin as possible, but no thicker than 1/8 inch. With the tip of a paring knife, pick out all of the seeds you can, in particular the cut ones, which secrete a bitter oil.

2. Put the lemon slices in a small bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt.

3. Cut the bell pepper lengthwise along its creases. Remove the stem, core and seeds. Skin the pepper with a peeler and cut the flesh into the thinnest possible strips, no more than ¼ inch thick. Set aside.

4. Using a mandolin, the single long slit of a four-sided grater, or the thin slicing disc of a food processor, slice the cucumber paper thin, leaving the peel on. If using a regular cucumber, first wash it under a strong jet of cold running water, rubbing it vigorously with a rough cloth. Set the cucumber aside.

5. When ready to serve, choose a very shallow bowl or deep serving dish where the ingredients can be spread out. Line the bottom with cucumber slices. Drain the lemon and put the slices over the cucumber, allowing a border of cucumber to show. Repeat the cocentric arrangement with the peppers, placing them over the lemon. Sprinkle with olive oil, pouring it in a thin stream in a figure 8 pattern to distribute it evenly. Add a few grindings of pepper and top with the chopped parsley. Just before serving, but not earlier, sprinkle with salt.

from Marcella Hazan, Marcella’s Italian Kitchen

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