April 13, 2010

the cherry bomb

Here is a little appetizer that is sure to grab the attention of everyone around. Not only because it is round, red and cute, or because it is oozing with creaminess, but because it also delivers a spicy kick that is hard to ignore. While you could really use any hot pepper you like, i prefer the cherry bomb, which only seems to be available in my local grocery during a relatively small window of the growing season. In fact, while writing this it has occurred to me that i should add this fiesty veggie to my what-to-plant-in-my-garden list. Apparently compared to lots of other chilis, the cherry bomb contains a relatively low amount of the heat causing chemical, capsaicin, but nonetheless, i have had some that deliver quite a bite. As with all chilis, the intensity of one to the next always varies, but consider yourself forewarned if you have a tongue that is sensitive to a little bit of heat. Besides the invigorating piquancy of the cherry bomb, i like to use it because its flavor also imparts a nice sweetness that i feel a jalapeno, for example, lacks. The flesh is also really thick, so it lends itself nicely to stuffing. And aesthetically, well, look at it - how could you not want to pop that little jewel into your mouth?

stuffed cherry peppers


Cherry peppers
Feta or chevre
Pine nuts
Fresh basil (dried also works)
Olive oil

Core and seed the peppers, taking care not to break the sides. Brush with olive oil and roast in the oven at about 400. Meanwhile, chiffon the basil, and mix it with the pine nuts into the feta. When the peppers are almost done roasting (you don’t want them too soft or they won’t contain the cheese well), remove from the oven, let cool slightly and stuff with the feta mixture. Return to oven and very briefly broil to slightly brown the top. These are fantastic served warm or cold.

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