Sitting in the jar like bright red layers of folded velvet, piquillo peppers are one of the most popular preserved vegetables in Spain. Skinned and seeded, they are a small red pouch waiting to be filled with morsels such as beef, pork, black pudding and, classically, salt cod. Once filled with salt cod you have the makings of the best finger food on the globe — colourful, rich, salty and packed with mouth-filling flavour. With these delicious little morsels you can win best party dish of the year. Trust me — I’m a chef.
Drain the peppers on paper towel. Carefully spoon a little of the ajoarriero mix into each pepper. Take care not to split the sides and gently pack the mix as you go. Fill with enough mixture to form a smooth top that is even with the edges of the peppers. Dip the stuffed peppers in the flour then dip them in the beaten egg (allowing the excess egg to drip off) and roll them in the breadcrumbs.
Fill a large heavy-based saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds. Deep-fry the peppers for 2–3 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on crumpled paper towel then sprinkle with
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