Bobby Flay is obsessed with piquillo peppers. He puts them in everything. Until last week, I had never seen piquillo peppers on sale anywhere, but of course my interest was piqued by my friend Bobby’s obsession (OK. We’re not really friends. But I would like to think that if I ran into him roaming Chelsea Market, he would offer me a show on the Food Network immediately. Dream big, right?).

So there I was in Trader Joe’s, having a little sample of their coffee, and I looked down at this random shelf and there they were! I bought them with no plan of how to use them, and then when I was deciding on my party dishes I thought it would be a great time to try them. I know the prevailing wisdom is to never try an untested recipe on friends. But I have to admit I do it all the time. There are just too many interesting recipes, and I get bored easily with my own tried and true standards. Maybe it’s not fair to inflict the experimentation on friends, but in this case I think they will forgive me.


I decided to stuff the peppers with a mixture of goat cheese, lemon, and capers. For 7 peppers (the whole jar), I used about 4 oz. of goat cheese, 1 T. chopped capers, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Then I baked them along with the dates at 400 degrees for about the same amount of time, 8 minutes. The peppers are tart, not hot, and you can’t go wrong with goat cheese. They were delicious, but I wish I had thought of a better way to present them. They don’t wrap up or close up in as nice of a little package as the dates. And they’re a bit big for an hors d’oeuvre, so I would recommend them more as a plated appetizer. But all in all, I was quite pleased! Bobby, call me!