Grilled Romaine and Red Bell Peppers with Ancho Chile Vinaigrette and Cheese
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For the vinaigrette:
- 6 to 8 (about 3 ounces) ancho chiles rinsed, stemmed and seeded
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar or grated piloncillo or to taste
For the salad:
- 3 red bell peppers
- 3 heads romaine lettuce
- olive oil to drizzle
- 1/2 cup queso fresco mild feta or farmers’ cheese, crumbled
To make the vinaigrette:
- Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut the stemmed and seeded chiles lengthwise into thin strips and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the onion, garlic, vinegars, oil, salt and sugar to the bowl and toss to mix well. Transfer everything to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.
To make the salad:
- Place the red bell peppers either on a tray under the broiler, on a heated grill, or on a heated comal on the stovetop, and char on all sides, flipping as each side chars, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Once cool enough to handle, remove the stems and cut into slices (without removing the skin or discarding the juices).
- Slice the romaine lettuces in half lengthwise. Drizzle each half with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle on a pinch of salt and pepper. Place them on a heated grill or comal and quickly char, about 1 minute per side.
- Serve lettuces on a platter along with the red bell pepper strips, ladle the ancho chile vinaigrette on top and sprinkle with the cheese.