Julia's Dinner Party: Main Course

Previously this week, I've talked about the beginnings of Julia's pre-graduation dinner party – the amuse-bouche and the salad. Now comes the real meat and potatoes. Or should I say peppers and potatoes?

As if our palettes weren't whetted enough by the salad and appetizer, the aroma of the main dish was wafting through the house. My Mom said it smelled so good that she wanted to bottle it. For the dish I did a spin on Jamie Oliver's stuffed peppers, because they are awesome and Julia loves them.

With a recipe like this, you could really do whatever you wanted with them, using the core of the recipe as a model to go on. I used a similar stuffing as Jamie, mixing up chopped basil, chopped jalapeno, halved grape tomatoes, chopped red onion and halved kalamata olives with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Each half pepper can only really hold a large spoonful or two of mixture, but honestly, I just eyed the amount and wasn't too specific in the amounts of each component. For 8 peppers (16 half peppers) I used two packages of grape tomatoes, 1 entire drained jar of kalamatas, half a red onion, 3 jalapenos and 1.5 bunches of basil. It was just enough to fill the 16 halves. I probably could have used slightly more.

Before stuffing the peppers I rubbed the insides and outsides of the vessels with salt and pepper and a little extra virgin olive oil. Once stuffed, I laid little slices of fresh mozzarella over the top of each one so it would create a melted and golden top. In one pan of 9 I also added a big slice of thick, smoked bacon (a suggestion I remember Jamie making) on top of each pepper to create a flavorful, crunchy top. The other 7 were left plain in another pan. I then covered the roasting pans with aluminum foil and cooked them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. This was to soften the peppers by steaming them. Then I ripped off the foil, cranked the oven up to nearly 500 degrees and cooked for another 30 minutes to get them all crunchy and colorful and delicious.

When done, they looked gorgeous. The guests loved them too, many people having a second or third one. The juices were very flavorful and really added to the accompanying mash and medley that I served as sides. It was a yummy variant on Jamie's original that was close enough to still taste good but different enough to fit the crowd and the occasion.

Oh and what, you ask, were the medley and the mash precisely? Mashed what and medley of what? Well you'll have to check back in tomorrow for the conclusion of the Julia's Dinner Party Series.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

Mouthwatering and delicious. Again, great visual, as well as olfactory and gustatory appeal. (It may be obvious by now that I am new to blogging. Perhaps it is because this it the first dinner of Benjamin's that I have been privvy to taste. It was certainly a night to remember.) Dad.