Warm weather dining is in full swing here in Atlanta. We're a patio-dining obsessed town to be certain. One of my most favorite spots in the entire city is a little jewel box of a wine bar called Krog Bar. It's one of the most authentic tapas – note that I said tapas and not small plates – places I've ever been. It's all about the wine, the meats, the cheese and a few choice other Spanish influenced noshes…all enjoyed under a giant umbrella that spans the patio.
I had this dish there a month or so ago alongside some baguette, some perfect thinly sliced Bresaola and salty olives. Washed down with a class of crisp Rosé, it was the ideal al fresco meal. I knew I had to replicate these stuffed peppers immediately. Luckily, a trip to Trader Joe's scored a jar of Piquillo peppers, which have a sharper, tangier flavor than most roasted red peppers available in stores. You could certainly use roasted red peppers in a pinch.
The rest of the ingredients are easy to source and come together in a flash – you can have an appetizer ready in 10 minutes. Feel free to add to the cheese mixture as you see fit – chopped herbs you have on hand would be a nice touch. Serve these as an appetizer alongside some crusty bread and other antipasti like artichoke hearts or olives.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Piquillo Peppers – makes 8 peppers
– Place softened goat cheese in a small mixing bowl and mash in lemon zest, salt and pepper (a large pinch of each should suffice). Set aside or place in piping bag/makeshift Ziplock piping bag.
– In another small both, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
– Drain 8 Piquillo peppers and pat lightly dry. Carefully open peppers and stuff with goat cheese – I think piping the mixture in is easiest but it's fine to use a spoon. You will use about 3/4 of an ounce per pepper. Place peppers on serving plate and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle entire plate with chopped chives. You can serve immediately or chill for an hour or so – just make sure to bring peppers back up to slightly under room temperature before serving. If you're making these in advance, save the dressing and chive garnish for right before serving.