Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stuffed Cherry Hot Peppers

My favorite place in the whole world is 9th Street in Philadelphia between Catherine and Washington Streets. Why? This is the home of the Italian Market. This particular market is the oldest and biggest working outdoor market in the US. Tons of fresh produce, any cut of meat imaginable, fresh bread, and the most delicious cheeses in the world. True, it is a bit seedier than it was in its prime, when my great-great-grandmother and my great-grandmother would stroll the market and buy the food for their dinner. Even so, every Sunday that I lived in Philadelphia, I would get up bright and early with my cart and head down to the Italian Market. Armed with my weeks groceries, I would always stop into Claudios (side note: In Philadelphia, the rivalry that always gets the most play is Pats of Genos for cheesesteaks. Who cares! The real question is what cheese shop do you frequent? Claudios or DiBrunos. I'm Claudios all the way.) for a fresh loaf of bread and a dangerous assortment of cheese. They also had a boatload of marinating olives and peppers, real string mozzarella, any cured meats you could want, and other delicious goodness. These stuffed peppers are my favorites. A little hot cherry pepper that is stuffed lovingly with a cube of provolone cheese that has been wrapped in prosciutto. Heavenly. I made these as my treat for the Super Bowl and I was very happy indeed. They aren't quite as good as the ones from Claudios, but I am only human after all.
Stuffed Cherry Hot Peppers
30 cherry hots
5-6 slices prosciutto
sharp provolone cheese
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves

1. Slice the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds. The seeds are where the most heat lives so if you leave behind a seed or two in some of them, they will be pretty hot. I like that!
2. Lay the prosciutto slices on a cutting board and carefully slice into little rectangles that you will use to wrap around your cubes of cheese.
3. Slice the cheese into cubes that will fit into your peppers. You are just generally eyeballing it here because they don't have to be a perfect fit.
4. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around a cube of cheese and stuff into the peppers. Do this for all of your peppers.
5. Place all of the peppers into a Tupperware container. You want one that just fits everything and that isn't too big.
6. Whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour over the peppers. Add the peeled, whole garlic cloves to your Tupperware.
Allow them to sit overnight in the fridge so that the flavors melt together. These will keep in the fridge for up to one week, but they probably won't last that long.

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