Pepper’s Piedmontese

I can’t remember where this recipe first came from. Maybe Elizabeth David, but I remember serving it as a starter at the first restaurant I ever worked in, The Brackenbury in Hammersmith. In January and February, we did a set lunch with The Times, which was something ridiculous like £10 for three courses, so you can imagine, it was fabulously busy. Maybe up to 90 lunches a day in a little 50 seater restaurant with a tiny kitchen. It was hot, long hours and hard work and I made one hell of a lot of Pepper’s Piedmontese.

peppers-piedmontese

Peppers Piedmontese

For vegetarians, remove the anchovy.

Serves 4 as a starer and  2 as a main.

6 ripe plum tomatoes

2 red peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

Small bunch of basil, shredded

4 good-quality anchovies in oil

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Cut your peepers in half through the stem. Then cut across the stem with a knife to remove the seeds but leave the stem attached. Chop your tomatoes into 8ths and toss in a bowl with plenty of olive oil, salt, pepper and the basil. Heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Slice the garlic as thinly as you can (a mandolin is good for this.) Put some slithers of garlic into each half of the peppers. Next add an anchovy fillet into each one. Pile in the chopped tomatoes. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes. The flesh of the pepper should be soft but not falling apart, steaming just slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature, when the flavour of the peppers is at its very best. Before serving, drizzle over the olive oil and serve.

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