Baked Stuffed Peppers

Peperoni Ripieni

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • For

    4

    persons as a full course

Appears in

What makes these peppers particularly succulent is that they are stripped of their skin before they are stuffed and baked. You must char the skin to loosen it from the pepper, as the recipe describes. Once flayed, the pepper needs to be hollowed out—and this is where you want to use care, because if you tear the now tender pepper, it would become useless as a container.

Ingredients

  • 4 meaty yellow or red bell peppers, about pounds
  • ¾ pound eggplants, preferably the long, skinny variety
  • Salt
  • 6 flat anchovy fillets, preferably the ones prepared at home
  • 2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs
  • teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A fresh, ripe, firm tomato, preferably the plum variety
  • Vegetable oil, enough to come 1 inch up the sides of the skillet
  • Black pepper ground fresh

Method

  1. Wash the peppers, then place each over a gas flame. If you don’t have gas, put them under your oven’s broiler. Turn them just until their skin is charred on all sides, but do not overcook them; they must remain very firm. As each pepper is done, put it in a sturdy plastic bag, closing the bag tightly. When all the peppers are done, set the bag aside to allow its contents to cool completely.
  2. Wash the eggplants and cut off the green tops. Dice the eggplants into cubes of approximately inch. Put them in a colander set over a bowl, and sprinkle salt over them. Let the eggplants steep thus, shedding their bitter juices, for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Chop the anchovies, parsley, capers, and garlic all together, using a food processor if you like, but taking care not to puree them, and put them in a medium bowl.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs, the oregano, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Using a swiveling-blade vegetable peeler, peel the tomato raw, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds without squeezing it, and cut it into ½-inch squares. Add the tomato to the bowl containing the other-ingredients, and toss well.
  6. Turn the oven on to 400°.
  7. Retrieve the eggplant cubes from the colander and pat them dry with kitchen towels. Pour enough vegetable oil into a 10 to 12-inch skillet to come 1 inch up the sides, and turn on the heat to medium high. As soon as the oil is hot—if you hold your hand palm downward just above the pan, the air rising from it should feel quite hot—slip in the eggplant cubes. Fry them to a pale golden brown, then transfer them with a slotted spoon to the bowl containing the mixture of other ingredients and toss well.
  8. Remove the peppers from the plastic bag and, using a little paring knife, pull away their charred skin, taking care to keep the peppers whole. Take a thin slice off the top of each pepper to create an opening. With the knife blade, gently detach the pepper’s core and seeds without cutting through the flesh. Use a teaspoon to scoop out any seeds remaining. Stuff the peppers with the mixture from the bowl.
  9. Choose a baking dish which can accommodate the peppers standing as straight as possible, their tops facing up. Sprinkle over the tops the remaining tablespoon of bread crumbs and of olive oil. Bake in the upper middle level of the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to settle when done, and serve no hotter than lukewarm or, even better, at room temperature.

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