Grilled Bread with Marinated Peppers and Goat Cheese

Of all the food I make, I get more requests for this recipe, I think, than any other. GREAT appetizer! It’ll make your tongue slap your brain!

Serves eight as an appetizer.

3 medium bell peppers (1 red, 1 orange, and 1 yellow)
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 recipe Grilled Garlic Bread (below)

One 4-1/2- to 5-1/2-oz. container of soft, spreadable goat cheese (such as Chavrie), at room temperature
Prepare a medium-high grill fire. Grill the bell peppers, turning occasionally, until the skin chars all over, 15 to 20 min. Put the charred peppers in a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 30 min.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of the thyme, salt, and about 5 grinds of pepper. Mix well.

Remove the pepper skins and seeds and cut the peppers into thin strips. Add the peppers to the vinegar mixture and let them marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. (Refrigerate if making more than a few hours ahead and return to room temperature before assembling the crostini.

Spread each slice of the grilled garlic bread with a generous layer of goat cheese, sprinkle with some of the remaining thyme, and top with a tangle of the peppers and a small grind of black pepper. Serve immediately.

Grilled Bread

Yes — read this, if only to remember to rub garlic on the bread.

Eight 3/4- to 1-inch-thick slices crusty, artisan-style bread, like ciabatta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
Sea salt or kosher salt

Prepare a medium-low charcoal or gas grill fire. Brush both sides of the bread with the oil and grill, covered, turning once, until golden and marked on both sides, 1 to 3 min. per side. Off the heat but while the bread is still hot, lightly rub one side of each bread slice with the cut sides of the garlic—heat and friction from the bread will cause the garlic to “melt” into the bread. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

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