It’s been a while… I have been cooking, and photographing food, but not finding the time to sit down and post it! Tonight, I made an old favorite; this is a great appetizer, but I like it so much that sometimes I make a meal of it. It’s my adaptation of Bay Area Chef Salvatore Calisi’s piperade, as found on the menu at Dio Deka, in Los Gatos, CA. Like everything at Dio Deka, it’s fabulous. This version is my attempt to replicate it, and to keep it relatively simple.
4 large Anaheim peppers
1 cup good, strong Feta cheese.
8 cloves garlic, peeled (larger ones cut in half, length-wise)
1 T. oregano (fresh or dried)
1 t. thyme, dried
3-4 T. olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 baguette (I use sweet french), cut into 1/2-inch slices and brushed with olive oil
The only part of this dish that is a little labor-intensive is the peeling of the peppers. In order to do this, place them on a gas burner, or use a torch to blacken the skin all over the peppers.
Then, place them in an airtight container for a few minutes, to let the skins loosen. Then, peel the peppers. (This is never very easy, but I find that twisting the pepper helps, and rolling it in my hands with a paper towel.)
Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds, then slice them lengthwise into strips. Place them in an oven-proof pan with the garlic cloves, olive oil, oregano (fresh is better, but I used dried tonight because it was easier!) and thyme. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to brown and peppers are soft (about five minutes.)
Turn the broiler on high. Place the sliced baguette (brushed with oil) on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler. (If you’re anything like me, you’ll need to set a timer for 2-3 minutes to avoid torching the bread!) Once the crostini has browned around the edges (or as much as you want it to), remove it from the oven and set aside.
Sprinkle with the peppers with crushed red pepper flakes and serve hot, with the crostini. This makes enough for about 8 appetizer servings.