Deep into Brooklyn, there is a fabled sandwich shop known as Defonte’s.
We used to make the trek for their coronary-inducing heroes, overflowing with meat, sometimes several kinds within a sandwich. One of their famous sides is a combo of pickled veggies known as “hot salad.”
Not really a salad, and not that hot either, this relishy sauce hearkens back to a time when Italian-American cuisine was still trying to position itself in a way that the mainstream could understand. What follows is my riff on it.
Old School Brooklyn Hot Salad
- 1 mild light green pepper such as Hungarian wax
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic with peels left on
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup pimento-stuffed green olives
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 pepperoncini stems removed
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven to broil with a rack on the highest level. Toss the mild green and red peppers and the garlic in 1 teaspoon of the oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Broil the vegetables, tossing a few times during the process, until blistered all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a medium bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and steam for about 10 minutes. Peel and seed both peppers and place in the bowl of a food processor. Peel the garlic and add it to the food processor along with the olives and pepperoncini. Pulse about 15 times, until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Add the capers, vinegar, parsley, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir to combine. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Bring up to room temperature about 30 minutes before using.