This simple dish showcases the beauty of bell peppers. Unlike the overly cooked, soggy meat-filled stuffed bell peppers we may have grown up with, these peppers are like little boats of tender crisp summer vegetables, accented with the savory tang of Halloumi cheese.
5 red or yellow bell peppers
1 zucchini (or any other seasonal vegetable)
4 tablespoons olive oil (you may use garlic or herb flavored oil)
1 ½ cups Halloumi cheese
4 tablespoons pine nuts
[Chef’s Note: Halloumi cheese is a product of Cyprus, and is a sheep’s milk cheese which has been preserved in brine. It is known as “the cheese that grills” because it browns nicely when grilled or fried. If you can’t find Halloumi in your local specialty market, you may substitute Ricota salata, a firm aged Asiago, or any other cheese you really love!]
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Cut 4 of the bell peppers in half and take out the seeds and the white ribs, but leave the stems on. Seed and chop the remaining pepper along with the zucchini. Place on a baking sheet and fill the pepper “boats” with the mixed vegetables, drizzling with half the olive oil, and bake for 25 minutes or until the edges of the peppers begin to char.
Dice the Halloumi cheese and mix in with the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle pine nuts on the top and drizzle with the remaining oil. Return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes, until the Halloumi starts to melt and the tops are nicely browned. If necessary, place under the broiler or salamander for a few minutes to brown the top.
Recipe by Mark Tafoya