Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ingredient spotlight: piquillo peppers

I bought my first jar of piquillo peppers from a spanish food specialty store in Berkeley. Once I tried these peppers, I knew I’d be incorporating them into my cooking on a regular basis. Piquillo peppers are sweet red peppers from Spain that are roasted and sold in jars or cans. I usually buy my piquillo peppers packed in water, but they also come packed in olive oil. Piquillos taste similar to roasted red bell peppers, but with a more intense, slightly smoky flavor – I happen to think that they’re vastly superior.

My local grocery store carries piquillo peppers, they have them right next to the jars of regular roasted peppers. Trader Joe’s has them right now too, but I noticed that they’re imported from Peru rather than Spain, so I can’t vouch for the quality. You can also order them online. Unlike most jarred products, these peppers don’t have a very long shelf life. I usually end up freezing whatever I have left over after the jar has been open for a week.

You can use these peppers in any way that you would normally use your standard roasted red peppers. I like to put them in pasta, on pizza, or stuff them with a variety of fillings. One of my favorite preparations is to stuff the peppers with goat cheese, raisins and pine nuts. There’s no real recipe for this – I mix softened goat cheese with some toasted pine nuts, golden raisins that have been plumped in hot water, salt and pepper. If the mixture seems too thick, you can thin it slightly with a touch of milk or cream. I fill the peppers using a piping bag – you can use a spoon, but it’s a little messier. These are good at room temperature or just slightly warmed.

piquillo peppers, goat cheese, stuffed piquillo peppersAnother great way to use piquillo peppers is to make a marmalade. I use the marmalade for lamb chops, but it would also be great on pork or chicken.

lamb, piquillo pepper marmalade Piquillo pepper marmalade
Makes 3-4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
8 piquillo peppers, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pan at medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and browned, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the piquillo peppers, lemon zest, lemon juice and rosemary and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add a little water if the pan gets too dry. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

51 comments:

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Yum, your pictures are wonderful. love stuffed peppers.

Tracey said...

I have to confess that I never liked peppers as a kid and I haven't tried them since. I've been tempted to try roasted red peppers for a while now. Maybe I'll have to give these a shot too! Your pictures are gorgeous.

Selba said...

Wow.. these are lovely!

noble pig said...

I have been wanting to make a piquillo-crab dip for years but never come across the peppers. Your dish looks delish!

Lisa said...

I am so excited to try this. I could eat piquillo peppers by the jar and I haven't bought them in a while.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It'sa pity I can't find these peppers here... A beautiful post with gorgeous food!

Cheers,

Rosa

5 Star Foodie said...

Wow, those dishes with piquillo peppers look like 5-star dishes to me! i especially love the stuffed one!

Jude said...

I always make it a point to have some of this on hand. I love cooking spanish food :)

Manggy said...

Ooh, both dishes just look to dye. (avoiding the correct spelling :) I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for these, thanks! :)

nath said...

ehhmmm... mouthwatering... want to try this.... ;) yummy picture^^

Sophie said...

MMMMMM....Sara!
The 2 dishes souds so wonderful!! Lovely pictures too!

I buy them also at my local Spanish store!
I only used them stuffed up for an appetizer! You gave me an excellent other recipe to try!!

Jamie said...

Fabulous! I am going to look for these peppers. We often buy cheese-stuffed tiny red peppers at the market, but I love your blend.

And that marmalade looks amazing.

rekhas kitchen said...

Thank you so much for the information. I have seen this peppers in store here in Abhudhabi but I don't know How to use then now i tyr to do some thing with them. beautiful pic.

Maya said...

Sara:
I saw these peppers at T Joes and walked past it.I like the stuffed peppers you have here.

girlichef said...

These sound great...they are some peppers that I haven't tried. I'll keep my eye open (well, both actually) now!

Joan Nova said...

I'm with you! Once I tried piquillo peppers no other roasted peppers will do. But, for me, rather than a smoky taste, I find them very sweet. I've been buying Goya's whenever I see them in the store - they're delicious and only about $1.59/jar.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've never tried these peppers but we're getting a Trader Joe's near us and I'll be looking for them as one of the first items I try. I love the stuffed peppers with goat cheese idea. Do you serve them as appetizers, eat them for dinner/lunch?

Ben said...

That looks delicious. I love the vibrant red color of the first picture and the marmalade sounds yummy.

Sarah said...

Both recipes looks delicious!

Cathy said...

I love piquillo peppers - they are the main reason I drive all the way across the city to the specialty food store on a regular basis (well, that and preserved lemons).

Melissa @ For the Love of Health said...

I LOVE peppers. I don't think I have ever had piquillo peppers but I already know I would love them.

Your pictures are wonderful and I would like the stuffed variety!

Have a great day!

mikky said...

wow!!! so amazingly created and captured... cheers to you... :)

The Food Hunter said...

I like the marmalade idea. Thanks for sharing.

Pearl said...

sara - thanks for introducing these piquillo peppers to me. i'll keep a look out for them. :)

Elra said...

OMG, this "Piquillo pepper marmalade" sounds so good Sara!

♥Rosie♥ said...

I have never tried piquillo peppers before but boy do I want to now - you bet I do! Both recipes looks delicious!

Rosie x

Donna-FFW said...

This sounds so delicious, I love peppers in general, I will have to look for these. Love your uses for them also!

Reeni♥ said...

How beautiful! That steak atop the maramalade looks so delicious! And the stuffed ones sound really good, too!

Debbie said...

I adore stuffed peppers. Love the picture...colorful!

The Duo Dishes said...

The stuffed peppers are to die for. Mmm mmm mmm.

stephchows said...

I'm a HUGE fan of these peppers. Love what you used them in!

Allison Lemons said...

Did you get these at the Spanish Table? So funny, my next blog post is going to be about a spice a picked up there last week.
I can spend hours in there, just browsing around their shelves. I haven't tried these yet, but will pick up a bottle on my next visit.

lisaiscooking said...

Your stuffed piquillos look so great! I love them with goat cheese, and your marmalade is a great idea.

Sara said...

Ciao Chow Linda - I usually serve them as a tapas or appetizer, but they make a great meal with a salad too.

Allison - That's where I bought my first jar, now I buy them at my local grocery store.

Sean said...

Great way to showcase those peppers Sara! Those stuffed peppers look amazing!

Heather said...

those are so colorful and delicious! i love your pictures (and these peppers sound so good).

mamakd said...

Thanks for sharing. I have seen those but never buy them. I know, I am a scaredy cat! Sounds like I could incorporate these in my regular recipes for my kids. I am super excited to try them!

pigpigscorner said...

Beautiful, I love stuffed peppers.

LK- Healthy Delicious said...

I'll have to be on the lookout for these... they look great stuffed with cheese like that. thanks for the tip pn freezing them too- I never think to freeze leftovers, and I'm always having roasted red peppers mold on me. :(

Christina Kim said...

They're so colorful! Your photos are fantastic.

Marta said...

Yummy Sara! This looks great!
Thanks for introducing these great ingredients to us, I hadn't ever heard of these peppers, but now I'll look for them! The variety packed in oil sounds especially appealing to me :)

Helene said...

Thanks, I learned about piquillo peppers. Your dish are so nice. Love the pics.

Carolyn Jung said...

I love piquillo peppers, too. They are so versatile, just as you've shown on your post. Plus, they're just so impossibly lovely with their bright lipstick red color.

Bharti said...

I haven't tried these guys but love the sound of them. The ones stuffed with cheese sound marvelous.

Cakelaw said...

I am in love with the pics of the stuffed peppers - I like stuffed peppers, stuffed olives, you name it, those guys are mine on the antipasti platter.

Angie's Recipes said...

You should share some tips of taking pix !!

Girl Japan said...

This is one of you truly best photos, the contrast in colors are amazing and the menu- girl you have me salivating.

teresa said...

Delicious! I would love to try this!

Chef E said...

I love the color of these peppers! I love stuffed peppers, but have not used these in that way, but now I will have to try it...

Sandra said...

TJ's piquillos are awesome!

Much beter flavorthat your standard roasted peppers.

mar said...

ahem... piquillo peppers are originally from south america (peru/andean area specifically).
i know they're traditionally used in spanish cuisine but the conquistadors took a lot of native fruits and veggies from the new world back to europe. that was part of the whole colonialism issue: take their stuff, appropriate it and then dismiss the culture where it came from.

so my point is, the peruvian piquillos from TJs might be even better than those imported from spain :)