Serves 4

This is a simple, clean-tasting salad. Peppers are in season now, and I for one am very happy to see their vibrant colour sitting on the plate. The basil in this salad is known as purple ruffle; we grow it at Petersham.

4 balls of mozzarella
150g/5oz cooked chickpeas
The juice of half a lemon
60ml/3fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
10 mint leaves
2 large red peppers
10ml/3/4fl oz balsamic vinegar
12 black olives
1 small bunch of basil

Cook the chickpeas until tender, drain and, while still warm, pour over the lemon juice, half the olive oil and the mint leaves. Season generously and set aside.

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Lay them cut-side down on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, season, then roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 15 minutes. Remove and cool.

Place half the basil in a blender, add a pinch of salt and the rest of the extra-virgin olive oil. Blend until you have a lovely, vibrant green purée. Tear the red pepper in half with your fingers and divide among 4 plates.

Place the mozzarella on the plates and spoon over the chickpeas. Scatter over the olives and the remaining basil leaves. Season all over lightly with a little salt and pepper, drizzle over the basil oil, and serve.

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