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 ways to prepare Piquillos is to stuff them with a soft chevre cheese mixed with fresh herbs from my garden, Buf mozzarella or a harder artisan cheese and seared in a skillet. They are also great stuffed with crab meat.

Crab Stuffed Piquillo Peppers (1)
 Crab Stuffed Piquillo Peppers (2)

Piquillo seeds are available on amazon, ebay and Trade Winds Fruit. 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.