These vibrantly colourful Piedmontese Roasted Peppers are utterly delicious and easily prepared. They are perfect served warm or at room temperature. I serve them on a large platter, with some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices. Extremely versatile, they are perfect for casual dining, dinner parties or al fresco entertaining. They are a lovely accompaniment to roast chicken, a perfect prepare ahead starter or as part of an antipasti spread.
A visit to Adelaide Central Market inspired this dish. A pile of colourful peppers caught my eye; their brilliant colours at once enticing and inspiring. There are so many ways in which to use peppers and ideas flooded my mind; roasted and marinated as a side dish, on bruschetta with soft, creamy goat cheese, diced raw in a Mexican style salsa with corn and tomatoes, Greek-style stuffed with beef and rice, delicious Italian caponata, roasted with tomato to make soup or turned into a dip. Ideas abound but today my thoughts turned to these delicious halved and stuffed peppers, packed full of the sunny flavours of the Mediterranean.
You can vary this recipe to suit your personal taste.
Non-negotiable ingredients are peppers, (of course) tomatoes, finely sliced garlic, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add or subtract ingredients as you wish. If you don’t care for bocconcini then feta also works well. If you don’t like olives, omit them. Anchovies add umami flavour and I think they’re essential but if you really can’t contemplate them, or if you’re looking for a vegetarian dish, omit them and add a little sea salt (I use Maldon). You just fill the halved peppers with vibrant Mediterranean ingredients, bake for about a half hour, and serve warm or at room temperature.
With summer on the way in Australia, you will find many reasons to serve these Piedmontese Roasted Peppers. I love to serve mine with Gluten Free Olive and Rosemary Focaccia.
Piedmontese Roasted Peppers
- 4 small red or yellow peppers or a combination (1)
- 120 g cherry tomatoes halved if small, quartered if large
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 12 basil leaves (2)
- 16 Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- 4 medium bocconcini about 130g, sliced (3)
- 4 anchovies halved lengthways – use good quality (4)
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin (5)
- salt and pepper to taste
- chilli flakes – optional
- Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C (350F)
- Halve the peppers lengthways, remove the core, seeds and white pith. Lay the peppers, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish that will comfortably hold them.
- Divide the pieces of cherry tomatoes amongst the peppers. Tuck 3 or 4 slices of garlic between the tomatoes. Tuck basil leaves and olives between the tomatoes.
- Cut, or tear the bocconcini into pieces with your hands, and scatter on top. Use some crumbled feta if you prefer.Add an anchovy, halved lengthways or chopped if you prefer. Grind some black pepper over the top.If you are using anchovies omit the salt.
- Drizzle over the olive oil. Don’t skimp, it is essential for the wonderful juices.
- Bake in the oven approximately 35 minutes until they are slightly blackened around the edges but still holding their shape.
- Transfer the cooked peppers to a serving dish, with all the delicious juices poured over, and garnish with a few basil leaves.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- I prefer to use red and yellow peppers for this recipe. Orange works well too if they’re available, and I prefer them to be on the small side. If large they can be cut into quarters but you will need to increase the quantities of the fillings. I generally don’t buy green peppers. Green peppers are harvested before they are completely ripe and I find there is a mildly bitter edge to their flavour.
- I sometimes whiz a handful of basil leaves with some olive oil in a small food processor and drizzle this over in lieu of adding the basil leaves and olive oil separately. Or use some basil pesto if you have some on hand.
- I have used medium sized bocconcini balls. You could use a large bocconcino ball or use some crumbled feta if you prefer. You could take the dish to new heights by using Buffalo Mozzarella – it’s delicious.
- Simply omit the anchovies to make a vegetarian dish. Use a few sea salt flakes instead.
- It is essential that good quality olive oil is used as you will be mopping up the delicious juices with crusty bread.