For Christmas last year, one of my colleagues gifted me [Australian] Truffle balsamic vinegar. Now, I’m sure all my fellow food-bloggers would agree, it is a big deal to get not-so-easily-available ingredients as gifts. And this particular item came in a premium magnetic clasp box, with the bottle sealed with a cork and thick wax. I felt like I was opening a bottle of elixir!
Such a beautiful ingredient deserved an equally beautiful recipe. For the longest of time, I was planning to try out a recipe that the last seasons Masterchef India’s winner, Nikita Gandhi, had posted on her blog. Her recipe was Goats cheese stuffed piquillo peppers with balsamic vinegar.
With truffle balsamic in hand, it seemed like a good idea to adapt her recipe. I replaced goats cheese with cream cheese, purely based on cheese preference. The balsamic was of course, replaced with my shiny new truffle balsamic. And the piquillo peppers stayed the same, as it is the foundation to both dishes.
This appetizer is uncomplicated to make, but bursts of flavours. So if you get time, try it out, I’m sure you will go back for seconds and thirds!
[Recipe credit: Nikita Gandhi, Masterchef India Season 4 winner]
Stuffed piquillo peppers:
- Piquillo peppers: 6
- Cream cheese: ~ 1/8 block (Philadelphia original), divided into 6 equal blocks
- Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Reduced truffle balsamic vinegar:
- Truffle balsamic vinegar: 1/4 cup
- Sugar: 1/8 cup
- Cook piquillo peppers on open flame till the surface completely chars:
- Place peppers in a dish and cover with saran wrap, allowing the peppers to ‘sweat’ for 10 minutes
- In the meanwhile, heat the balsamic vinegar in a pan along with sugar. Allow the solution to simmer. Switch off flame once the vinegar starts to bubble continuously. Pour the solution in a bowl
- After 10 minutes, remove the peppers and using the blunt side of the knife, gently scrape away the charred surface
- Chop off the pepper stems and remove inner seeds, if any
- Gently stuff each pepper with a block of cream cheese:
- Heat a pan and add olive oil onto it
- Once the oil heats, gently add the stuffed peppers, and let it sizzle and slightly brown on both sides, under low-medium flame
- Liberally drizzle the reduced balsamic vinegar onto your serving plate and organise your peppers onto it
- Serve immediately
- Make sure that the entire surface of the peppers char, for an optimal smokey flavour
- For a less messy affair, use a piping bag to stuff the peppers
- Don’t over heat the balsamic reduction, otherwise it will caramelise and become rock candy as it reaches room temperature