Piquillo means “little beak” in Spanish, and piquillo peppers get their name from that shape, though, ironically, they don’t have the “bite” of many other pepper varieties. Grown in the Navarra region ofnorthern Spain near the town of Lodosa, they’re very mild.After harvest, they’re fire-roasted for a sweet and smoky flavor, peeled and seeded by hand, then packed in brine. You can purchase them from many online purveyors. For a variation on the crabmeat, try flaked Spanish tuna.
- Extra virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons in all
- 6 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon dry Spanish sherry
- 1 cup crabmeat, shredded
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped pitted black olives, preferably Spanish
- 3 tablespoons finely minced scallion tops (green parts only)
- Kosher or coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12-ounce jar of brined whole piquillo peppers, drained
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Drizzle the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Use a wooden spoon to combine the cheese and sherry in a bowl. Fold in the crabmeat, olives, and scallions, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the cheese-crab mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch donut filler tip, or use a sturdy resealable plastic bag and snip off one of the lower corners to make a 1/2-inch opening. (In a pinch, you can use a small spoon.) Gently pipe about a tablespoon of the cheese-crab mixture into each pepper, being careful not to overstuff and risk tearing the walls of the peppers.
Arrange the stuffed peppers in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil over the top of each pepper. Bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 12 minutes.
Yields 6 to 8 appetizer servings