Bell peppers stuffed with mozzarella, capers, and olives are really delicious: tender, flavorful, loaded with stringy cheese, a dish which will impress your guests! They make a healthy fast lunch along with some green crispy salad and a slice of bread. Yummy!
Cooking bell peppers is not always easy: some people can’t digest them very well, other ones don’t like bell peppers because of their too strong taste. And you usually end up stewing them (peperonata). Yet, you may encounter plenty of other recipes to prepare tempting dishes. Set your imagination free.
This easy Mediterranean recipe will make you experience the summer atmosphere in Southern Italy. It reminds me of my wonderful vacation in Lipari one of the Aeolian Islands, in Sicily: scorching weather, blue cloudless sky, astonishing sea. In Lipari, capers grow almost naturally on the sides of the roads; their flowers are wonderful works of art.
Easy to find ingredients makes this recipe definitely special. What do you need? High-quality mozzarella, salt-cured capers (you will have to rinse them very carefully), black olives- opt for pitted ones, you will save time.
Which bell peppers?
I have chosen yellow bell peppers because they are usually sweet, not hot and spicy at all. Their square shape perfectly fits to keep the stuffing in their roomy cozy “belly”: pack it with plenty of gorgeous ingredients.
Choose the right bell peppers
You may find several types of bell peppers at the greengrocers. You should buy yellow ones for this recipe because they so light and fruity that they could be eaten raw as well, or even grilled. The color depends on a pigment called lutein which is very good for your health too.
If you can’t find them, get some orange or red ones, they are sweet, juicy and rich in beta-carotene and capxosantin pigments, hence the color; they usually darken when cooked.
Purple or brown bell peppers don’t fit the recipe. Green bell peppers are not ripe, so you should not buy them: they contain a lot of chlorophyll which affects the color of the fruit during the ripening process. They are not very easy to digest, they smell “unripe”, they are not suitable for this recipe: you’d better stew them with other bell peppers.
Keep in mind that…
Differently from a lot of other vegetables and fruit, bell peppers stop their ripening process when they are picked up from their plant, so, they don’t ripen in your fridge or on a sunny windowsill. That’s why you should buy ripe ready to eat bell peppers: every color, save green.
Fiordilatte mozzarella is the best choice but…
The first choice is, no doubt, mozzarella, delicate, stringy, succulent. Neutral and light, it makes the stuffing soft without affecting the taste of the other ingredients. If you can’t find mozzarella, opt for some creamy cheese such as stracchino, crescenza or the very light ricotta cheese. Stretched cured cheese such as scamorza, caciocavallo or provola may stuff the “belly” of your bell peppers very well. For those who like string tastes, tofu with several flavorings may be a scrumptious variation. Tofu with chili peppers, with basil or curry are just a few of the many combinations.
Olives and capers: getting the best ones.
Flavorful and rich, they impart full taste and personality to the dish. Salt cured capers should be preferred, because the vinegar doesn’t fit this recipe.
Oil cured small black olives should be the first choice, but green ones are good as well. Toasted olives are not suitable for the dish because of their strong taste.
Bell peppers stuffed with cheese and capers.
- 4 Yellow big red bell peppers
- 400 gr Fiordilatte mozzarella cheese
- 50 gr Salt-cured capers
- 100 gr Black pitted olives
- 40 gr Breadcrumbs
- 15 leaves Basil
- 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- thinly chop olives and capers;
- in a large mixing bowl, combine capers, olives and the diced mozzarella.
- cut the bell peppers into two halves lengthwise;
- remove the seeds and the membrane from inside. Wash and dry them carefully.
- place them into a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- spoon the mixture with mozzarella into the bell peppers, sprinkle with chopped basil and breadcrumbs, drizzle with some olive oil
- pre heat the oven at 180° C (356°F) and roast for about 30 minutes.
- eat them hot to fully enjoy stringy mozzarella.
How to store bell peppers
Bell peppers keep fresh in the fridge up to 1-2 days. Heat them up in the oven or in the microwave before serving. If you use the oven, cover the bell peppers with some foil not to overcook them.