Feed Me

The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

A friend told me about a disappointing meal he’d had recently, concluding with, “and the salad had red peppers in it.” This friend has apparently absorbed my dining-out prejudices, down to the nit-pickiest. I hate to see red peppers in salad. “The last refuge of the salad scoundrel,” I always call them.

It’s not that I dislike red bell peppers when they are on their own — roasted, sauteed, pureed (with eggplant) into avjar, the great Serbian pepper-eggplant sauce. But their distinctive flavor marries badly with most other salad ingredients, and the chef’s intent in deploying them is invariably “to add color.”

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To which I respond, “Why?“

A green salad is perfect in its greenness like a golf course, a shamrock, a hedgerow. It needs red pepper the way the Mona Lisa needs a red balloon.