Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pepper time treat, "Peperoni Mediterranei"


I've been savoring the bounty of the late summer harvest and colorful peppers have been an important mainstay on that front. We're in the heart of bell pepper country and they grow em big up here. We're not all that far from Carmagnola who are famed for their giant tasty peppers. The link I put in is in Italian only, but there a few photos of the varieties of peppers on offer for their "sagra" or pepper festival that starts tomorrow, 29 August. One of Fabrizio's father's hunting buddies lives over there and grows them commercially, so we always look forward to a crate of these colorful giants. In the meantime there are plenty in the markets and we've been grilling them quite a lot lately. These tuna filled peppers are a nice change of pace and delicious hot or tepid on the table as a substantial starter or one of an array of antipasti to sustain you on a hot summers eve.
We were served this last summer by our friends Silvana and Pino, from over past Pinerolo. We met them, as we did a number of interesting people, in the run up to the Olympics, due to all the different circumstances that brought people together during that exciting time. We dined al fresco in the shade of their lovely yard with a spectacular view of the plains, spilling out from just under their feet. Along with the filled pepper halves, we enjoyed some creamy Tomini slices that had been submerged under "oh so virgin" olive oil and fresh herbs, before the poached fish made it's grand entrance. Silvana is an excellent cook and she very kindly shared her mothers recipe for these peppers. Silvana's mother came from down south, Puglia I believe, so these are more of a southern style dish, but perfectly at home, served up here in the north. Silvana shared another very interesting recipe for soup with viola flowers, recently, but I think that one may need to wait till I have a few more popping up again.
I must remember to ask for her mothers lemon cake recipe, it was divine!

"Peperoni Mediterranei"
Mediterranean Peppers
Serves 4 (2 halves per person)

4 medium large bell peppers ( 2 yellow 2 red)
20 green olives
1 bunch parsley, smallish
1 garlic clove
1 T capers
3T parmigiana ( or a combo of Parmesan and pecorino, also know as romano in the US)
1 tin of tuna in oil, (7 oz or about 200 grams), drained
salt
bread crumbs
olive oil, extra virgin

  • Wash the peppers
  • Place the peppers in a warmed oven and roast until the skins begin to blister and they peel easily
  • Peel and cut in half, cleaning out the stem and seeds.
  • Remove the white membrane along the seams as well and set aside in a baking tray or pan.
  • I like to line the pan with parchment paper to make it an easy clean up
  • Remove the stems from the parsley and place on a cutting board with the olives and capers
  • Chop fine, retaining some texture, add them into a small mixing bowl
  • Grate your garlic into this mixture, or mince very fine and add to the other mixture
  • Add your drained tuna and cheese (you can reserve 1 T of cheese and add it to the bread crumbs for the top if you like)
  • Mix well.
  • Season with a touch of salt
  • Fill the peppers evenly distributing the mix
  • Cover tops with bread crumbs
  • Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each half and bake till heated through
Serve hot or room temperature

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