Small triangular-shaped piquillo peppers have a wonderfully smoky, sweet flavour. Native only to northern Spain, fresh ones are difficult to find. Yet bottled roasted ones are available at most gourmet delis or substitute with home-roasted red peppers (see below).
1 cup (250 mL) cooked lentils, preferably French green (du Puy) lentils
1 cup (250 mL) spinach, shredded
1/4 cup (60 mL) pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp (30 mL) Parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp (15 mL) raisins, coarsely chopped
8 roasted piquillo peppers or 2 roasted red peppers, cut into quarters
Stir lentils with spinach and olives. Grate lemon and add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lemon peel, then squeeze in juice from lemon. Drizzle with oil and season with pinches of sea salt and pepper. Stir in Parmesan cheese and raisins, and combine well.
Slice tops off piquillo peppers and remove seeds. Gently fill peppers with salad. If using quartered red peppers, spoon salad onto one end, then roll up. Serve at room temperature.
For hot peppers: place stuffed peppers in small baking dish and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Scatter a few thin slices of garlic over top, then broil until warm.
Makes 8 stuffed peppers.
Each pepper contains: 89 calories; 3 g protein; 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 10 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre; 61 mg sodium
TIP: Instead of Parmesan in this recipe, substitute leftover marinated feta from the Marinated Feta, Olive, and Roasted Red Pepper Skewers recipe.
Sweet red bell peppers are the best choice for roasting. They’re so versatile—great as a sandwich condiment or blended into salsas, soups, or pasta sauces—anything that needs a hit of sweet, mildly smoky flavour. Roast a big batch to have a stash on hand.
Gas stove method: Turn flame to medium and place whole pepper directly on burner. Use tongs to rotate pepper once skin starts to blister. After all the skin of the pepper is blackened, place in a bowl and cover. Let stand 15 minutes, then peel and discard seeds.
Oven roasted method: Lightly brush whole peppers with extra-virgin olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated 400 F (200 C) oven until skin starts to blister and peppers are soft, turning occasionally, 40 to 50 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover. Let stand 15 minutes, then peel and discard seeds.
Storage: Place peppers in a jar or container just large enough to hold them. Cover with olive oil and refrigerate up to 3 weeks.
source: "Tapas for Two", alive #340, February 2011
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