Rosetta’s Tuna-Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Rosetta’s Tuna-Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Makes 3 pints

From Domenica Marchetti’s Preserving Italy, reprinted with the author’s permission

2 pounds (907 g) hot cherry peppers

2 cups (473 g) white wine vinegar

2 cups (473 g) water

2 (7-ounce) cans best-quality solid tuna in olive oil, drained

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

6-8 best-quality anchovy fillets in oil, patted dry

Extra-virgin olive oil

Equipment:  Disposable kitchen gloves (such as Playtex); 3 sterilized 1-pint jars and their lids

Wearing glove, cut out the stems from the peppers with a paring knife and carefully remove all the seeds and pith inside.  Put the peppers in a high-sided saucepan and pour in the vinegar and water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes.

Drain the peppers in a colander and let them sit until cool enough to handle.  Set them, cut-side-down, on a clean kitchen towel to dry for 2 hours.  Turn them over and let dry for at least another 2 hours, and up to overnight (if drying overnight, turn them back over so they are cut side down).

Prepare the filling by finely chopping the tuna with the capers and anchovies.  Stuff the peppers with the tuna mixture and pack them snugly into the jars, leaving about 1 inch head space.  Slowly pour in enough olive oil to completely cover the peppers.  Screw the lids on tightly and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.  Check to make sure the peppers remain completely covered; if not, add more oil.

Let the peppers cure in the refrigerator for 1 week before using, then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.  To serve, remove from the jar only what you plan to use and let it come to room temperature.  Top off the jar with more oil as necessary to keep the remaining peppers submerged.

Note on sterilizing jars and lids:  First, wash jars in hot soapy water.  Sterilize by immersing them in a covered pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, or place them in a 285°F oven for 30 minutes.  Place the rings in a small covered pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave them in the water.  Do not boil the lids, as it could compromise the seal; just add them to the pot of hot water right before filling the jars.

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