From What’s in Season: Peppers by Barbara Kobsar with photos by Helen Krayenhoff
Executive Chef Peter Chastain from Prima Ristorante in Walnut Creek uses this recipe in several ways. It is meant to be an antipasto and comes from Puglia originally, but it can also be “deconstructed” for use over pasta. Toast the breadcrumbs separately and sprinkle them on top of the cooked pasta along with some good pecorino.
3 yellow sweet peppers
½ cup breadcrumbs from good country bread
Extra-virgin olive oil
5 anchovy filets
2 cloves California garlic, germ removed
1 dry, hot chile such as chile de arbol, seeds removed (optional)
2 tablespoons capers
¼ cup sultanas (white seedless raisins)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 mint sprig
Preheat oven to 500º. Place the peppers on the middle rack. Put a cookie sheet underneath them to catch any dripping. Roast approximately 20 minutes until the skins are charred. Remove into a bowl and cover with a towel until cool. Peel the skins off and remove the seeds and stems. Cut into 2½ inch segments, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Slice garlic as thinly as possible. Combine with anchovies and about ¼ cup olive oil in a small sauté pan. (Add also the hot chile if using). Over slow heat, cook until garlic begins to turn golden and anchovies dissolve.
Add capers, pinenuts, and sultanas and increase heat until the capers “flower”/open.
Add breadcrumbs and remove from heat. Roll peppers in this mixture until completely coated. Sprinkle with chopped mint. Arrange on a platter or plate individually. Serve at room temperature.
This can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator; as long as you allow it to warm up in the kitchen it will be delicious. Some people like it with a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon.