I first discovered this recipe one lazy Saturday morning, watching Simon Hopkinson’s latest programme on the BBC. The recipe was simple and the end result looked so delicious that I quickly rewound the segment, grabbed a notebook and scribbled down the method.
I think I made those peppers the same night and served them with roasted chicken breasts and griddled asparagus. And my obsession was born.
Piedmontese Peppers are now my go to dish for EVERYTHING. The flavour is far superior to any other side dish that’s this easy to make and I haven’t met a single person that doesn’t like them – including my notoriously fussy sister-in-law.
A basic recipe with few ingredients, this is a showstopper for dinner parties as antipasti served warm with crusty bread to soak up the juices or as an accompaniment to meat or fish for the main course. Equally, if I’m stuck for something to make for a quick midweek dinner, I pop some of these into the oven with a salmon fillet or even a fishcake.
There aren’t many recipes for Piedmontese Peppers online, but the theory is the same for most. Sweet red peppers stuffed with plump, juicy tomatoes, garlic and salty anchovies are drizzed with olive oil and roasted until all the flavours melt into one another. When you cut into the peppers, the juice spills out, running across your plate and coating everything with the sweetest flavour; it’s liquid gold.
I’m not a huge fan of anchovies so often leave these out and instead I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt to balance the sweetness of the fruits. I’ve also come to prefer pureed garlic in favour of freshly sliced garlic as not only is it quicker and easier, but it thickens the juices so they’re less liquid. And if you love garlic as much as me, you’ll appreciate the extra pungent flavour.
There are so many ways you can tweak this recipe to make it your own – here’s my version.
THE RECIPE: PIEDMONTESE PEPPERS
- Red peppers,
- Plum tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano or Sundream varieties)
- Garlic puree
- Olive oil
1 -Preheat the oven to 200°c/Gas Mark 6
2 – Cut the peppers in half length ways, leaving the stalk in for decoration and place on a baking tray
3 – Remove the seeds and any white pith, as these parts of the pepper are bitter
4 – Stuff as many plum tomatoes into each half as possible, packing them tightly. I find it best to put them in so they’re standing up on end
5 – Squeeze as much garlic puree as you like into the gaps between the tomatoes. If you’re using fresh garlic cloves, slice them thinly and poke the slices between the tomatoes
6 – Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt over the top (although if you’re using the puree, you may not need extra)
7 – Place in the over and leave to cook for at least 40 minutes or until the peppers have softened and have started to catch on the edges
8 – Serve with some fresh basil leaves on top
If you’re serving these as antipasti, leave them to cool and serve with cured meats and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices. If serving as a side dish, serve hot but be careful when you bite into the tomatoes – they will be very hot!
These are ideal with chicken or fish, but I’ve eaten these alone for lunch or as part of a salad. You could dice them up and add them to bruschetta or pasta too.
I hope you give these peppers a try – if you do, let me know how you get on in the comments below or over on Instagram or Facebook.