Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Piquillo Peppers


Last night I completed my third cooking class this fall. I introduced my Soups & Stews class to piquillo peppers. I thought since they are a bit of an unusual ingredient, I would post a bit of information on the piquillo (pronounced pee-KEE-oh).

Piquillo translates as little beak and as you can see by the photo, these small, triangle shaped peppers are aptly named. They are sweet and flavorful, not spicy hot. These delicate, Spanish peppers are grown in the mountainous region of Northern Spain. They are hand picked and roasted over an open wood fire. Then they are hand peeled, without being washed or treated with any chemical additives and packed in their own juices in jars or cans. They are truly a delightful addition to any dish.

I think you will start to see these peppers more frequently. On a recent episode of Iron Chef America, Chef Mario Batali opened a can of piquillo peppers. In the February 2007 issue of Bon App├ętit Magazine, they printed a recipe for Chicken Salad with Piquillo Peppers, Almonds, and Spicy Greens. In my class last night, we made a Spanish Flavored Fish Stew.

You can find the peppers whole or sliced. Because of their small size, stuffing the whole peppers make a great first course or tapas. You may substitute roasted red peppers for the piquillo peppers if you do not have any. And conversely you could add piquillo peppers to just about any recipe that calls for roasted reds.

As you can see by these recipes, piquillo peppers marries very nicely with fish and seafood:

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Spicy Salmon Tartar with Lemon Oil
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_6702,00.html

Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/warm-piquillo-and-crab-dip

Vegetable Paella with Artichokes and Piquillo Peppers
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/vegetablepaellawitha_82928.shtml


I was only able to find the piquillo peppers locally at Williams-Sonoma (Eastwoode Towne Center, ph #517/316-9314). They only offered sliced peppers. There are numerous online stores to purchase them from. Let me know if you need help finding a store.

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