Mini sweet peppers with olives and almonds
( SERVES 4 )
These flavour-packed nibbles can be prepared in advance and cooked just before serving. Baby sweets, available throughout summer in hues of yellow, orange and red, have a natural affinity with garlic, herbs, creamy cheeses and bacon. Boursin, a fresh cheese from Normandy, is sold in many supermarkets. The garlic and fines herb version makes creating this dish easy, so do look for it. That said, both garlic and chive-flavoured cottage cheese or cream cheese would suffice.
- Heat the oven to 200C.
- Cut each mini sweet in half lengthwise, keeping the right halves together. Cut or scoop out the seeds.
- Blend together the garlic and herb cheese and feta until smooth. Divide the cheese mixture evenly among the peppers, filling one half of each pair generously. Sandwich the halves together.
- Using the back of a cook’s knife, stretch each pancetta or bacon rasher. Cut each rasher in half. Wrap one half around the middle of each pepper, enclosing the filling.
- Arrange in a shallow ovenproof dish. Scatter over the almonds and olives and drizzle everything liberally with the olive oil. A seasoning of ground black pepper won’t go astray and I’d be using a generous hand.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the peppers are hot and the pancetta or bacon and almonds are golden. Serve with crusty bread and a chilled wine.