Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Peppers Filled with Whipped Feta

Adapted from Saveur Magazine, August/September 2010 issue
Makes about 20 bite-sized hors d’oeuvres
Peppers Stuffed with Whipped Feta
20 small jalapeño peppers OR 20 pickled peppers
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbl Greek yogurt
2 tsp minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
pinch dried oregano
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
kosher slat & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
If using fresh jalapenos:  Pre-heat the oven to 475°F.  Place the whole peppers on a foil-lined baking pan and roast 5 minutes.  Shake the pan to turn the peppers, then roast again for 5 minutes longer.  Place the peppers into a small mixing bowl or container, then cover with plastic wrap or a lid. Let stand 15 minutes to steam, then remove the covering. 
Now, for both the jalapeños or the pickled peppers:  Slice each pepper, length-wise from top to bottom, not exactly in half, but slicing from just above the stem, to just above the bottom tip.  You’ll remove about a third of the pepper.  Discard this part, along with the seeds from inside the pepper.  Use a sharp paring knife to also remove and discard the inner membranes from the pepper (which along with the seeds, are responsible for much of the pepper’s heat).  Reserve the prepped peppers until needed. 
Pickled Yellow Peppers
To make the filling:  Combine the feta, olive oil, yogurt, parsley, lemon zest, oregano and egg yolk in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  (You can also use an electric hand-held mixer.)  Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then beat on medium-high until well combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. 
Feta, Yogurt, Parsley, Oregano, Lemon, Egg Yolks, Salt & Pepper
Transfer the feta mixture to a pastry bag or heavy-duty plastic bag.  Slice the tip to create an opening about 3/8-inch wide.  Pipe the mixture generously into the prepared peppers, then arrange the peppers on a foil-lined sheet tray.  Sprinkle the stuffed peppers evenly with the grated parmesan cheese.  Refrigerate, covered with plastic, until ready to cook.
When ready to serve, pre-heat the oven broiler, and arrange an oven rack about 10 inches beneath the broiler.  Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Transfer the peppers to a platter and serve warm.