Saturday, July 10, 2010

Stick This In Your Pepper and Eat It

Olives and peppers, mozzarella and pepperoni; prosciutto and salami, before rigatoni; smelly aged cheeses hung from the ceiling by strings—these are a few of my favorite things! If I had a choice, along with a loaf of bread, quality olive oil, really old balsamic, and wine, those would be the adornments on the plate of my last meal. Come to think of it, all of that melt-in-your mouth fat swirling around would probably finish me off for good.

On Sundays, my family and I will often enjoy a bunch of goodies from the Italian deli before and alongside of dinner. I’m a big fan of the spicy red and green stuffed cherry peppers, which are a common staple behind Italian deli counters. The places by me will sometimes stuff them with a chunk of provolone wrapped in prosciutto. Other times, we’ll get ones packed with what looks like a mixture of different chopped-up dried salami; I’m not exactly sure what it is, all I know it that it’s really good. Either way, my mouth literally begins to water as soon as I crack open the lid of the plastic deli container and the smell of spicy peppers marinating together with flavor-saturated stuffing jumps up into my senses.

This past week we had leftover hot sopressata in the fridge. Sopressata is an Italian dry-cured salami typically made from pork; it can be spicy or mild. We don’t usually get the hot one, so I was a little obsessed with it. I’d keep the container near me while making dinner and testing recipes for my blog, or would sneak in a few slices as a snack during the day. Anyway, it reminded me a lot of the stuffed pepper filling that I can’t quite figure out, which inspired me to try and recreate it. Besides, it was a way to use up the sopressata and help me to stop feeling guilty about eating slices of what is essentially ground up fat and pig parts, as snacks.

I stuffed olives as well as peppers just to try something a little different. Overall, I was satisfied with the way they came out—pretty close to the real thing. If you’re not into spicy, the filling isn’t overwhelming but I would suggest stuffing a milder pepper. They both would work perfectly on something like an antipasto platter.

Stuffed Peppers/Olives:
Yield: About 1 cup

- Large green pitted olives and spicy/sweet “pepperazzi” or cherry stuffing peppers. You will also need 6-7 extra peppers, finely chopped, to add into the stuffing mixture.
- 1 cup hot sopressata (Italian dry-cured salami), very finely chopped
- 1/3 cup sharp provolone, very finely chopped
- 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- Fresh thyme leaves stripped from 6-8 sprigs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Regular olive oil for storing

• Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Stuff as much of the mixture as possible into each individual olive and pepper.
• Store stuffed olives and peppers in the refrigerator inside of a closed container with just enough olive oil to keep them shiny and moist.


Magic of Spice said...

Wow,looks great for a summer appetizer:)

Kristen said...

I love Italian delis. I live about 1000 miles from the nearest one. I have to get vicarious gastro-satisfaction from bloggers like you. Those olives look amazing.

Jason Phelps said...

I'm going to have to study this closer because I think I will love it as much as you!


Marisa said...

Thanks everyone!

Kristen, I guess I take Italian delis for granted. There is one on just about every corner where I'm from!

Jason,I hope you do love it! Thanks so much for your comments! If you like spicy as much as I do, make sure to go for the hotter peppers--that'll make these even more mouth watering for sure :)

Tiffany said...

Sounds like stuffing the olives might require some patience....but I bet it will be worth it!