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Piedmontese Peppers Balance Sweet, Bright, Salty and Fresh Flavors

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Piedmontese Peppers

The price of peppers at Sprouts lately has been great. Bell peppers of all colors have been far less than you generally pay for them elsewhere. On one visit I even found red bell peppers for the low price of three for $1.

So, what do you do with colorful beauties? Mince them into a confetti that you can toss in salads or fritattas. Or soften them in a touch of oil or butter and then use them as a garnish on seafood or chicken.

I also discovered this savory recipe in “At Elizabeth David’s Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom” (Ecco, $37.50). Piedmontese Peppers can be either a side dish or an appetizer, and you can make them in the quantity you wish. You can also play around with the fillings and modify them to your tastes.

The recipe calls for anchovies; but if you wanted to make this strictly vegetarian, use capers instead. You could add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top or incorporate some tiny bits of prosciutto or salami. Or you could up the heat with a slight bit of minced serrano pepper.

The main point is to have a good balance of acid from the tomatoes, the sweet crunch of the peppers, the saltiness of the anchovy (and the umami feeling that capers don’t provide), the burn of the garlic and the freshness of the parsley on top.

For those who don’t know her, Elizabeth David is considered by many to have been one of the best food writers in the business. As Ruth Reichl writes in the introduction to this handsome book, “To Elizabeth David cooking was an affirmation of everything good about being alive.” One bite of Piedmontese Peppers should convince you of that.

Piedmontese Peppers

Bell peppers
Garlic cloves, sliced thin
Tomato, cut into chunks
Anchovy fillets
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut your peppers in half lengthwise. Take out all the seeds and wash the peppers. (You can leave the stems on if you choose.) If the peppers are large, cut each in half again. Into each piece, put 2 or 3 slices of garlic, 2 small sections of tomato, about half a fillet of anchovy cut into pieces, a small nut of butter, up to 1 teaspoon olive oil and a very little salt, to taste. Arrange these peppers on a flat baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes. They are not to be completely cooked; they should in fact be al dente, the stuffing inside deliciously oily and garlicky.

Serve them cold, each garnished with a little parsley.

Allow 1/2 or 1 pepper per person.

From “At Elizabeth David’s Table” by Elizabeth David

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