Peppers Stuffed with Feta

This is a simple and delicious appetizer, or even a nice lunch when paired with another vegetable or a salad and my take on a traditional Greek dish known as piperies gemestes me feta. I developed a craving for them after seeing them featured on the August 2010 issue of Saveur magazine and fell in love with them after eating them in a tavern in Athens. They are best when you can get fresh summer peppers. The traditional Greek recipe calls for Florentine peppers, however, several of the farmers at my local farmers’ market sell Cubanelles and they work perfectly. You can however, use any long, sweet green or red pepper such as Anaheim or Fresnos. I find the red peppers to be more flavorful and more attractive. I have also made them with small sweet peppers as a part of a menu at a tapas party. It is a good idea to use the freshest, best tasting feta you can find as it contributes a lot of flavor to this delicious summer dish.

6 6″ to 8″ Cubanelle chili peppers
9 ounces (by weight) feta, crumbled
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs Greek yogurt
1 tbs minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (to taste, more or less)
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or a similar hard, grated Greek cheese)

Arrange a rack 6″ from the broiler element of your oven and set the oven on broil. Put the peppers on a baking sheet and broil them, turning once until they are just beginning to soften. This will take about 5 minutes, depending on the size of the peppers. Transfer the peppers to a rack and allow them to cool.
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the feta, oil, yogurt, parsley, lemon zest, oregano and egg yolks until mostly smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Place this mixture into the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least 30 minutes. The colder the mixture, the easier it will be to stuff the peppers.
Make a lengthwise cut in each pepper (from the stem to the tip) and scoop out the seeds and ribs. Stuff each pepper with some of the feta filling and transfer them to a foil-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle the peppers with the parmesan cheese and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly- about 6 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a serving platter and serve warm.
If there are any left overs, these peppers reheat beautifully in the oven.
You can also split the peppers in half, if they are large enough before you broil them the first time. Just use a teaspoon to mound the filling evenly between each pepper half.
Enjoy!

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