I’m an anchovy fan. I know not everyone loves these salty, oily little fish but this traditional Sicilian antipasto recipe just might convert even you anchovy skeptics. Plus anchovies are one of healthiest, safest (low mercury), omega-3 fatty acid packed fish you can eat – so get with the program!
I first tasted these little spicy, crunchy, sour, salty bites on a visit with Etna winemaker Salvo Foti for lunch at his vineyard. Then I noticed them in the local salumeria’s and thus began my anchovy stuffed pepper addiction. These are especially delicious with a good crusty Italian bread that you can dip into the slightly spicy, tart oil they leave on your plate. When our friends offered to share both the recipe for this dish and the fresh peppers from their garden, I was excited to try making them. This takes a little prep and time because the peppers have to soak in a vinegar and water bath over night, but when you have a nice big jar of these babies ready to open on your countertop, you’ll be so happy you made them.
First wash your peppers and make a slit along the length. Open them up carefully and remove seeds. If you like them mild take out most of the seeds and if you like them hotter leave more seeds in. I scraped them out with a small spoon and you have to do this a little carefully so you don’t break the pepper up. FYI, don’t touch your eyes after you do this step…speaking from experience!
Next heat a big pot with water, vinegar and salt. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and submerge the cleaned peppers. Weight them down with a stack of plates so the peppers stay submerged in the bath.
Leave the peppers sitting in the vinegar, salt and water over night – or about 12 hours. Remove peppers and let them drain them for about 6 hours. The bright green color will change to a yellowish-green. Open each pepper and lay one anchovy inside. When all the peppers are filled put them into a glass jar and cover them with olive oil to preserve them. You can also use other oil, like sunflower.
Make sure you cover the peppers in the oil to prevent any spoiling. If the peppers are not in contact with air, you’re good, so just press them down tight and cover them in oil completely.
Peppers Stuffed with Anchovies
40 anchovies in oil
1 liter (4 cups) water
1.5 liter (6 cups) white vinegar
120g (or 8 tb) coarse salt
Olive or sunflower oil