Saturday, June 4, 2011

Piedmont Roasted Peppers

      Years ago Delia Smith, a wonderful and talented British cook and author, had a cooking show on PBS.   This is one of her recipes that I used to make on a regular basis, especially in the summer when tomatoes are at their best.  I thought of this fabulous recipe the other day when I was roaming the aisles of the produce department and instantly became excited at the prospect of trying these delicious peppers in my dutch oven.  Peeling the tomatoes requires a bit of preparation but the skins slip right off after a quick dunking in boiling water.  The anchovies bake into the olive oil, leaving a subtle but salty flavor behind.  Don't try this with green peppers, you really need the sweetness of the red ones.  Three halved peppers barely fit into my 10 inch oven, to make the full recipe you will need a 12 inch dutch oven or larger.  They were ready in 50 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 20 or so on top.  Serve them as a first course or a side dish but whatever you do, be sure to have a good crusty bread on hand to mop up all those sweet, garlicky juices.  From "Summer Collection" by Delia Smith, you can also find the recipe on her website.       

Piedmont Roasted Peppers
4 large red bell peppers
4 medium-sized tomatoes
8 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Italian extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil for garnish

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Cut peppers in half, remove seeds but leave stems intact (they help peppers keep their shape).  Lay pepper halves in bottom of oven. 
     Plunge tomatoes into boiling water for one minute.  Remove and peel skin from tomatoes under cold running water.  Cut tomatoes into quarters and place two quarters in each pepper half.
     Snip one anchovy fillet per pepper half into rough pieces and add to the tomatoes. 
     Peel the garlic cloves, slice them thinly, and divide the slices equally among the tomatoes and anchovies.
     Spoon some olive oil into each pepper half and sprinkle with pepper.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour. Garnish with fresh basil.

Peppers stuffed with tomatoes, anchovies and garlic

After 50 minutes in a hot oven

Don't waste a drop of those salty, sweet juices

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