Chilled bell pepper soup with feta and oregano oil

Few summer vegetables are as taken-for-granted as the humble bell pepper. It gets used in meager salads, as bedding for sausages and, if lucky, stuffed and baked. The bell pepper has become a utilitarian device in the kitchen -- a shame, since bell peppers have a vibrant flavor that should be celebrated. Available from June until late September, the bell peppers at the farmer's market are less thick-skinned and come in a few more colors than you'll find at the nearest mega mart. Purple and white bell peppers appear alongside the traditional red, yellow and green at market stalls and sell as cheap as four for a dollar. Since it's uncooked, this soup recipe showcases the bell pepper at its freshest. The oregano oil strengthens the pepper's punch while the feta helps smooth the flavors out and adds a little salty kick. This is a quick dish and prime for the summer since you don't have to turn on the stove. Be sure to try and keep from mixing the green peppers with the red or purple in the soup, as it turns an unappealing brown. Makes: four servings 1 pound mixed bell peppers, roughly chopped 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 1 cup Greek yogurt 1 cup water 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Oregano oil (recipe below) Feta cheese, crumbled Combine the first seven ingredients in a blender. Blend on the highest setting for one minute or until fully pureed. Serve immediately with a drizzle of oregano oil and feta cheese. Oregano oil 1/4 cup (packed) fresh oregano leaves 8 ounces extra virgin olive oil Blend both ingredients until homogenized. Use immediately -- it can be refrigerated up to one week.
Photo, recipe and styling by John Houser III / Special to The Baltimore Sun
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