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Posted to Thread #6394 at 7:02 pm on Apr 19, 2007

I haven't made these -- last year I was too late to catch the right peppers in the local markets -- but I have had the great pleasure of eating them at the cookbook author's farm in Chianti (which made me all the more determined to make them this year).

The author serves these as part of an antipasto platter and also as a light lunch, with crusty bread, a few olives and a green salad.

The recipe blurb says you boil the peppers in vinegar and water to take off much of their heat.

Peperoni Ripieni con Tonno
Cherry Peppers Stuffed with Tuna
(from Piano, Piano, Pieno: Authentic Cooking from a Tuscan Farm, by Susan McKenna Grant)

For the peppers:
12 cherry peppers
2 cups white wine vinegar
The best extra virgin olive oil you can afford

For the stuffing
200 g (7 oz) tuna preserved in olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove
Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh parsley
2 or 3 anchovy fillets
2 tsp salted capers, rinsed

For the peppers
Slice the stems off the peppers. Put the vinegar and 2 cups of water in a pan and add the peppers. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The peppers should remain a little bit crunchy. Drain the peppers in a colander and run cold water over them to cool. Using a small sugar spoon, scoop out the pith and seeds of the pepper from the opening where you removed the stem. Pay attention here -- it is important to remove all of the seeds. They contain most of the heat of the pepper, and if any remain they will spoil the subtle taste of this dish. Place the peppers upside down to dry on paper towels while you make the stuffing.

For the stuffing
Do not drain the tuna. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a fine paste.

Using a small spoon, stuff each pepper. Place the peppers, cut side up, in a jar. Push down a little as you add each new layer of peppers. Cover with the olive oil, seal tightly with a lid and refrigerate. The peppers are ready to eat now. As you remove the peppers, you may need to top up the oil in the jar so the peppers remain covered. When the peppers are all gone, I use the oil for cooking.

The peppers will keep well for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


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