Provolone, prosciutto and peppers! Oh my!

Provolone and Prosciutto Stuffed Cherry PeppersI spent this past weekend with my family back home in Boston. There are a lot of things I miss living in a city (one of them being nature) but my mothers cooking is the hardest being away from. As an honorary italian, she sure can whip up a mean everything.

With a more than plentiful stock of peppers from the garden, and a recent trip from the north end packed with fresh cuts of provolone and prosciutto, it would be against our heritage to not make stuffed peppers.

Side bar: The peppers sit in a solution for 2 weeks so this isn’t a recipe that comes quickly however, totally worth the time it takes and you will not be disappointed with the results.

Plate of Cherry Peppers

Here is what you will need:

– 3lb fresh cherry peppers (about 30 peppers)

– 4 cups white vinegar

– 4 cups water

– 6 Tbsp pickling salt

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

– 2 bay leaves

– 1lb sharp provolone (950 g), cut into ¾ inch cubes

– Prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut in half lengthwise, and then across to make 30 strips

– 2 cups olive oil

Wash the peppers and drain in a colander. Using a pairing knife, cut a ring around the top of the peppers. This will allow the pickling solution to enter the peppers, and make it easy to remove the cores before stuffing them. Pack the peppers into a gallon glass, ceramic or plastic container.

Put all the other ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the peppers. The peppers need to be completely covered in liquid. If you need more liquid, add a mixture of half water and half vinegar with the same proportion of salt to the jar—that is 2 teaspoons salt per cup of liquid.

Cool to room temperature, and keep refrigerated for about 2 weeks. Drain the pickled peppers in a colander set in a sink. Remove the cores from the peppers with tomato shark and discard. Drain the peppers well on absorbent toweling.

Cherry peppers, cheese, prosciutto cutting board

Cut the provolone into pieces that will fit in the peppers, ¾ inch is a good size for large peppers, ½ inch for smaller peppers. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around a cube of provolone and stuff into each pepper.

Pack the stuffed peppers into quart Mason jars. Use a wooden spoon to help arrange them so that the open ends face outward. Depending on the size of your peppers, pack them 3 or 4 to a layer. Pour the olive oil over the stuffed peppers. As air bubbles float to the surface add more oil until the peppers are completely covered. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for a week. Refrigerate after that.

Cherry peppers and olive oil

Remove peppers from refrigerator several hours before you wish to serve them to bring them to room temperature. Serve the peppers with hunks of sourdough bread to help sop up the olive oil.

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