December 7, 2011
(Easy Holiday Appetizers #3)
It’s perplexing that the colorful (red, orange and yellow) bell peppers at Trader Joe’s right now taste fantastic; I can’t figure out how this summer staple is so good right now, but I’m going with it.
This appetizer is an easy way to showcase peppers’ taste and bright colors. Originally I bought some for my kids to nibble on, and after discovering their stellar flavor I created this recipe to brighten up my winter appetizer offerings.
I’m loving flatbread crackers with sea salt—they have such a great texture and shape, all with a satisfying crunch. You can use a regular cracker or typical crostini for this, but I recommend the flatbread crackers. I found them at Whole Foods in the deli section, near the meat and cheeses.
How you roast peppers is important. If you don’t have a gas stove to put the peppers directly on, then simply blast them under your broiler—but make it snappy or your peppers will turn mushy and slimy.
After you roast the peppers, rinse them under cool water. This prevents them from overcooking and also makes them easier to peel. Discard the seeds and slice into thin (1 centimeter) strips and toss them all in a bowl with their juices. Douse with a hearty swirl of extra virgin olive oil—the best kind you have—and a hefty pinch of salt and red pepper flakes.
Set out the goat cheese to soften a bit and place it in a separate bowl. Stir 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk into the cheese; add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve a nice consistency for spreading.
To assemble, smear a generous swipe of goat cheese on the flatbread crackers, and then top with a spoonful of the peppers. Garnish with your favorite fresh herb. I used holy basil but thyme works nicely too. Season with sea salt and pepper of your choice.