Piquillo peppers are sweet, slightly spicy, smoky peppers that originate from Spain. Their texture is incredibly smooth and their flavor is luscious and elegant. They are roasted, peeled and packed in jars or tins. I bought mine at Surfas market in Culver City, California, but they are readily available online at places like Amazon. Chef Anne, who introduced me to them, says to look for the Bajamar brand. Chef Anne says you could also stuff them with goat cheese. I’ll get to that soon – but for now, try them with this amazingly simple, delicious white bean puree. You can make these ahead of time, keep them in your fridge on a cookie sheet and then plate them right before dinner. They would be glorious as an elegant first course for Christmas. They are absolutely stunning on the plate.
Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with White Bean Puree (ten first course servings)
- 1 14-oz can smoked, roasted piquillo peppers
- 1 12-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ head garlic, roasted (instructions below)
- juice of ½ fresh lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 scallions, trim off last inch of the tough green part and then coarsely chop
- salt and pepper to taste
To roast garlic, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel the dry outer layer of skin off of the head of garlic. Cut off the top ¼ inch of the head of garlic exposing each of the cloves. Rub a modest amount of olive oil all over the head of garlic (don’t soak it, but you want the whole thing to be moist). Wrap in foil and bake in the 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until the head of garlic is soft when you squeeze it (you might consider using a hot pad when you do this – just an idea). Take the garlic out of the oven and allow to cool. Some people use a knife to help remove the roasted garlic cloves – I just squeeze them out with my fingers. You’ll only need half a head of roasted garlic for this recipe. Spread the other half on good quality toast and consume when no one is looking. Teeth brushing is strongly advised afterwards. If you want to look at a recipe specifically for roasted garlic I suggest the one at Simply Recipes.
Place all of the ingredients EXCEPT the roasted peppers in a Cuisinart and process until smooth. Taste. Add salt and pepper. Process again.
Remove the peppers from the can. Using wet hands gently pull the seeds out from inside the peppers. Once you have all of them cleaned out (I had to rinse my hands a number of times in the process), place the peppers on a large cookie sheet.
Place the white bean puree in a gallon plastic bag. Cut a small hole in one of the corners. Holding a single roasted pepper in your hand gently squeeze white been puree from the plastic bag into the pepper. You don’t want to overfill the peppers. They really only need 1 tablespoon each. Serve.