Friday, June 14, 2013

Pimientos del Piquillo

Piquillo peppers are a popular tapas menu item in Spain. The peppers are traditionally fire roasted, peeled and stuffed with goat cheese or seafood.

Piquillo means "little beak" in Spanish and the bright red fruit have a distinguishing crevice at the tip that looks like a beak.

 Piquillos are a 4 inch long capsicum annum pepper. Annums are difficult to grow in Kihei due to the heat and bugs. They're a late variety and take about 6 months until they ripen. I couldn't grow Piquillos in Keonekai but I was able to grow them in Maiu Meadows.

 Piquillos are sweet and flavorful. Although fire roasting presents another taste dimension it's not essential as the peppers are delicious just roasted in the oven. The skin isn't as thick as a bell pepper so they're a bit tedious to peel and keep intact for stuffing. But the peppers are also used chopped or layered into sandwiches.

My favorite way to prepare Piquillos is to stuff them with a soft chevre cheese mixed with fresh herbs from my garden. They're also good stuffed with a harder cheese and seared in a skillet.

 Piquillo Peppers with Goat Cheese

I purchased Piquillo seeds from Peppermania but they weren't available for the 2013 season. Seeds are available on ebay. If you live in Maui Meadows, or at a similar elevation in the islands, I recommend planting Piquillo seeds in December so the fruit will ripen prior to the hot summer months.

The World of Piquillo