This simple but jewel-like appetizer or side dish can be served hot or at room temperature. Don’t forget the last drizzle of olive oil for a spectacular presentation!
- 3 bell peppers of similar size, any color
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse sale (kosher or sea)
- 1 cup panko or other bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon merquén (see Note) or smoked paprika
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easier clean-up. Place the bell peppers upright on a cutting board. Working around the stems and avoiding the seedy core, slice straight downward to remove 4 lobes from each pepper. With a paring knife, carefully trim off any white ribs, flush with the pepper.
Arrange the pepper lobes, skin side down, on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and season with salt.
In a medium bowl, gently mix the panko, Parmesan, granulated garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt with your hands. Using your fingertips, pat about 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumb mixture onto each piece of pepper. Drizzle the peppers with another tablespoon of oil.
Bake the peppers until bottoms are deeply browned and breadcrumbs are golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Transfer the peppers to a platter. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with the parsley and merquén. Serve with lemon wedges.
Note: Merquén (sometimes spelled merkén) is a smoky spice blend popular in Chilean cuisine. You can find it at specialty spice markets or online.
Serves 4 to 6 — Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2018