Before the holidays, my friend Beth gave me a jar of cherry red Peppadew Peppers. These crunchy, slightly hot little peppers are hollowed out, then pickled. Beth suggested filling them with goat cheese for a quick but addictive appetizer. Peppadew peppers can be difficult to find in stores (Beth ordered a case from Amazon.com) but our Sauganash Whole Foods sells them in their olive bar. Twenty tiny peppers were about $5. I filled each with goat cheese, then topped it with a toasted walnut. Although it made them a bit sticky, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction added a touch of sweetness to the dish.
Peppadew Peppers with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 5 ounce log goat cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ounce cream cheese (I used low fat), at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons half and half
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 20-25 Peppadew peppers
Preheat oven to 350. Toast walnuts for 10 minutes until fragrant. Cool. Chop into large pieces.
Pour vinegar into a small saucepan. Simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3-5 minutes. Watch closely so vinegar does not burn.
Beat goat cheese, cream cheese, half and half, salt and pepper with a hand-held mixer until creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Put filling into a ziploc bag, then snip off the corner to use it as a piping bag. Pipe filling into peppers. Press a large walnut piece into the top of each filled pepper. Arrange peppers on a plate, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction. Refrigerate until serving.