I had some people coming over and I had some of the adorable miniature peppers which have stared to pop-up year round recently. I like to buy them to cut into a salad because then I don’t have a big pepper to cut up and wrap – once I cut a pepper it seems to get soft rather quickly in the fridge.
But, I also wanted to make something with a Mediterranean flavor for my event. I also had some ricotta salata cheese and some dried cherries.
Mini peppers are about the size of the pepper in this photo (I am not sure that the pepper in the photo is a sweet pepper — I have included it for size reference):
Amounts are variable depending on your preferences and because I don’t measure stuff.
- Mini Sweet Peppers (these usually come pre-bagged) topped with seeds removed but with the pepper body left whole.
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Dried Cherries or other dried fruit like raisins, minced and re-hydrated a little in some water.
- Ricotta Salata grated or well-crumbled – you could use another crumbly salty cheese like feta. I suggest harder rather than creamier to avoid mouth burns when the pepper is eaten.
- Dried Oregano or other dried herbs you like
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F convection or about 400°F regular and toss the cleaned peppers with a small amount of olive oil and salt. Place the peppers on a cookie sheet in a single-layer and pop them into your oven. Cook until they begin to glisten and when they are just starting to soften (7 to 10 minutes). Remove from oven and lower the heat to 350°F,
Combine the cheese and dried fruit. You should have a cheesier mixture and not a fruitier one.
Add the herbs and some black pepper. If you don’t think the mix is salty enough add a pinch of salt.
Fill the peppers and arrange the on the cookie sheet so the cheese isn’t completely falling out. I suppose you could top each one with some foil until the cheese gets melty, but live on the edge and save the foil — it’s expensive! Cook until the cheese is bubbly. The peppers should still be al dente so they are not all floppy and impossible to eat. Let them cool a bit so people don’t totally burn their mouths sampling this delicious appetizer.
This never turns out the same as I don’t measure ingredients but they are always delicious and my guests rave about them.
I should have taken a picture but failed to do so.
I think these would also be delicious with finely chopped pine nuts (or walnuts) added or for a vegan appetizer you could try out rice pilaf (rice cooked with browned onions, nuts and raisins).
You could also try halving the peppers – leaving the tops on and filling them this way. Then I would cook it until the cheese got bubbly.
I like these better than cold peppers because I always think the raw pepper filled with a soft cheese or hummus would have a high potential to make a mess. But, here’s another way to make mini peppers https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016711-mini-bell-peppers-stuffed-with-goat-cheese?gclid=CjwKCAjw_47YBRBxEiwAYuKdwxRpWo5tW2o-PC3i2b6NihaVewCffjQAoUogtKPP5rKly-YaiwUV2BoCjY8QAvD_BwE