By Elizabeth Whalley RHN
As the conventional food industry is becoming more and a more globalized, I have opted for a more local diet, as I’m sure many of you have. I will continue to wait patiently for the first tomato of the season after a long winter of countless root vegetables. Eating local allows us to connect to the environmental changes going on around us, changes that are often as innate as the changing of the seasons.
Thus, you can understand my excitement in seeing the many varieties of peppers at the market last week after a long, pepper-less winter. All of the different shapes, sizes and colours were so alluring. If you’re lucky you’ll even get a history for your pepper varietal from your knowledgeable farmer. If you’re not so lucky (as I seem to have found myself), you’ll be led astray to the land of incredibly hot peppers. Not to worry, as possibilities for peppers are endless and roasting helps to mellow out those spicy peppers. Here is my homage to local market peppers of any shape, colour and size;
Basil Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers
- A few pounds of your favourite peppers
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small bunch basil
- 1 small bunch chives
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons goat cheese (I used feta, it added a great depth of flavour)
- 2 tablespoons quality olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the peppers for roasting; for smaller peppers chop off the top, for larger cut into quarters. Be sure to remove as much of the seeds and membrane as possible, after roasting hot peppers can actually be quite mild without them. Chop off a small portion of the top of the garlic cloves (this allows them to roast much better).
Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet, along with the garlic cloves. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil (reserving the remaining tablespoon for the filling), sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
While the peppers cool combine the remaining ingredients, along with the now roasted garlic in a food processor. Pulse until a smooth consistency is reached. Season to taste, I found with the feta no additional salt was needed.
Transfer the filling to a piping bag. If you don’t have one a zip lock bag with the tip cut off works in a pinch. Pipe the filling inside the peppers. Place tops on the peppers and return to a 375 degree oven for an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm with freshly cracked pepper and grated Parmesan or asiago cheese (optional).