Although these peppers resemble banana peppers or the tapered shape of hot peppers they are actually the sweetest peppers I’ve ever tasted. They have thinner walls than bell peppers so they are great for stuffing and roast/grill quickly. Once they reach their mature size (2″ – 6″) they can be eaten in any of the colour stages green -> yellow -> orange -> red. The white/green colour of the early pepper is tart and found in many Hungarian dishes while the later deep red peppers are incredibly sweet and evoke more of a Mediterranean taste. The peppers are also great just on their own – either fried in olive oil or raw as crudites.
To store the peppers until I had a chance to cook them, I followed Deborah Madison‘s suggestion from her book: “Local Flavors”
Instead of flowers, fill a bowl with the vibrantly colored peppers to create a beautiful centerpiece: “The price of a bouquet will buy you a bag full of glossy color and sensual form simply to look at.”
When I finally got a chance to do some cooking I took the advice of David Stevenson, formerly the chef and general manager of Downtown restaurant in Berkeley. “What I really like about them is they’re thin-walled, which makes them good for stuffing,” he says. “You can cook the stuffing without undercooking the outside.” Stevenson might fill them with a mixture of Manchego cheese and corn or with a savory bread pudding. Then he roasts or grills the peppers until tender.
Ahead of time – cook 2 cups mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots) in vegetable stock. Pour 1 cup of tricolour couscous into a bowl, add 1 cup of boiled water and stir. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff gently with a fork, mix in cooked mirepoix.
Close to serving time – scoop the couscous mixture into the uncooked peppers and roast them in the oven, or char them on a grill for a few minutes until the couscous is re-heated and the peppers are tender… DELICIOUS!!