A couple of weeks ago we had a dinner party that included a couple of serious Barolo fans and so we worked backwards from there. There was the wine, and glasses big enough to hold a LOT of it.
The main course was Bistecca Fiorentina, which we served with balsamic marinated radicchio, basil and fresh ricotta, and a warm wild mushroom salad with toasted hazelnuts. To start, my friend Laurie brought over a couple of bottles of Casa Coste Piane Valdobbiadene Prosecco. It is totally gorgeous—a light, dry bubbly with pear and white peach flavors.
But back to the food. We needed some nibbles for the bubbly, and I wanted to riff on the baby peppers stuffed with tuna that are served at Pizzeria Mozza. However I did not want to poach ahi in olive oil and make my own aioli. So…here is my highly modified version (think canned tuna and good old Best Mayo, or Hellmann’s depending on your zip code). My advice is to make more than you will need for the peppers so that you have enough left over to spread generously on onion bagels the next day.
Roasted Baby Peppers Stuffed with Tuna
Adapted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño
For the peppers:
- 48 baby peppers (preferably assorted colors), stems attached
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
For the tuna stuffing:
- 2 250-gram tins of Ortiz El Velero Bonito Tuna, drained
- 3/4 cup Garlic Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
- 2 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 2 heaping tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
For assembling the peppers:
- Finishing-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, halved
- Maldon sea salt or another flaky sea salt, such as fleur de sel
For the Garlic Mayonnaise:
- 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove, grated or minced
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
To make Garlic Mayonnaise, combine champagne vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and mayonnaise in a medium bowl and whisk until blended. Taste for seasoning and add salt if desired. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use (can be made a couple days in advance).
To prepare the peppers, adjust the oven racks so one is in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the peppers on a baking sheet, rub them all over with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and spread them out in a single layer. Roast the peppers for about 30 minutes, turning them occasionally, until their skins are wrinkled and slightly charred in places. Remove the peppers from the oven, leaving the oven on at the same temperature, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Combine the Garlic Mayonnaise, parsley, capers, mustard, anchovy paste, vinegar, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add tuna. Use a wire whisk as you would a potato masher to break up any large chunks but you do want the tuna to have texture. Fold the tuna and other ingredients until they are thoroughly combined.
To assemble, slice each pepper almost in half lengthwise, leaving them attached on one side. Carefully scrape out and discard the seeds, and spoon a scant tablespoon of stuffing into each pepper. Arrange the peppers on a platter. Drizzle with finishing-quality olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve.