Classic Italian Stuffed Cherry Peppers
What happens when your Dad tells you to try something new? That something new turns into one of your favorite antipasti picks.
Discovering one’s heritage typically revolves around discovering the ethnic dishes of your nationality. Especially if your life revolves around food. A big part of my heritage is Italian. Likewise a big part of my life is about food. All my life I was surrounded by Italian food because my hometown had a healthy population of old school Italians. Growing up in Niagara Falls meant an Italian bakery, deli, restaurant, pizza joint or butcher was just around the corner. But those were places my Gram took me, and Gram was most definitely German.
It wasn’t until I was about 30 that I was introduced to my Italian side. This is when I met my Dad. During the few days I would be spending with him and his side of the family, my Dad had a big dinner planned. Typical Italians, always thinking about food. Anyway, one of the dishes he wanted to prepare was anchovy stuffed cherry peppers. Ok, I’m all about learning my heritage, but does it have to involve anchovies? I’ve been introduced to the little buggers before and use them in cooking all the time. However, our relationship is quite contentious.
Dad was quite convincing. His version of this pepper was just a bit of anchovy in the pepper with aged cheese and olives to balance the flavor. Of course I wasn’t going to insult my Dad during our first meeting. And hell, it’s food and Italian food no less. I’ll give it a try. Boy was I glad I listened to my Dad. I love these things now. Bright and flavorful and just wake up your senses. Balanced with the cheese and a good earthy olive oil, the anchovies are not off putting at all. In fact, they act more like a flavor enhancer just like in a good white clam or puttanesca sauce. Why had I not tried these all these years? Because of a little bony fish? Such a waste of time.
Still Not A Fan Of Tiny Fish
No worries. There is plenty of other tasty things to stuff in your cherry peppers. That’s the great thing about stuffing cherry peppers. You can stuff them with just about anything you want. To accompany my dad’s version, I used fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, pepperoni and asiago cheese.
Did one of your parents get you to try a new food that you now love? Let me know in the comments below.