Wish Upon A Dish: Marinade Money in the Bank

January 28, 2012

Marinade Money in the Bank

This is a smattering of antipasti dishes I have in my fridge at all times. I marinade my own artichoke hearts, baby beets, roasted peppers and roasted cherry tomatoes and they keep for up to two weeks but they never last that long.

Antipasti are, for me, the best part of a meal. At Thanksgiving, it is my responsibility to keep the platters of different antipasti full. And at some point in the procession, roasted peppers stuffed with tuna will arrive at the table. The combination of sweet, meaty peppers and well-seasoned oil-cured tuna is always delightful.
Any fresh, meaty sweet bell-type peppers are suitable and different colors make a nice presentation. Peppers are always best roasted and peeled at home, though a jar of roasted red peppers can be substituted if you are short on time.

Many years ago, in the basement of the office building where I worked, there was a small deli that made breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Once I tasted their Italian Tuna Salad, I have never eaten it any other way.

I try to make a container twice a month and The Nudge always says yes to a sandwich. Keeping my resolution to eat less bread a week, I saw Lidia make tuna stuffed roasted peppers on her PBS show and now, that is how I get a good dose of Omega-3 and a delicious carb-less option for lunch.

Before we can make our own stuffed peppers and artichoke hearts we have to prepare the vegetables.

To roast peppers (includes poblanos, jalapenos and fresnos):
Rub each pepper with oil, salt and place on a sheet pan. Roast in a 400° oven until the skins start to crackle and brown. Pinch the middle of the peppers to test for doneness. They should be squeezable but not mushy. If they flop when you pick them up, remove them immediately. Once they are equally browned place them in a bowl and cover with wet paper towels, a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap. Once they are cool, remove to peel the skins off the meat. Cut a slit down one side, open the pepper carefully and scrap out the seeds and trim off the ribs. Place back in the bowl and drizzle olive oil, minced garlic and sea salt. Place in a lidded container and top with more olive oil to submerge totally.
They are now ready to use.

Tuna Salad Stuffed Roasted Peppers
* 2-3 sweet red or assorted-color peppers (about 1½ pounds total)
* 1/4 cup or so extra virgin olive oil ( I use the oil from the tuna)
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste
* One 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil (preferably imported from Italy)
* 1 taablespoon finely minced red onion (or shallot)
* 1 small anchovy fillet, drained and finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon small capers, drained and finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
* 1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard
* 1/3 cup mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley


To make the stuffing, drain the tuna and break it into flakes in a medium-sized bowl. One at a time, mix the seasonings into the tuna with a fork: chopped anchovy, capers, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, parsley, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and about ½ teaspoon salt. Stir vigorously, breaking up lumps of fish, until the stuffing is soft and fairly smooth. Add more of any seasoning to taste.

Drop a scant tablespoon of stuffing at one end of each roast pepper strip and roll it up snugly, creating a neat cylinder. Press the pepper as you wrap, so it adheres to itself and stays closed.

To serve, arrange all the rolls on a platter, drizzle a bit more olive oil all over, and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.

If you love marinated artichoke hearts, you really should make your own.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts
* 12 jarred artichoke hearts or frozen, halved
* equal parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Champagne vinegar to cover artichokes
* salt & pepper
* 1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings
* 1 teaspoon Dijonaise
* squirt of agave nectar
* 1 clove garlic, minced

Drain hearts on paper towels, pressing with another dish for at least 30 minutes.
Mix all ingredients in container big enough to hold all the hearts.
Taste for seasonings, it should be piquant and make your mouth pucker (but not too much). Too much pucker, add more oil. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator. Can be doubled and tripled. I do a whole warehouse-sized jar of them.

Marinated Baby Beets
Same marinade used for artichokes but rice vinegar and 2x the agave.

There you have it. Three simple recipes for wonderful starters (or a lunch) for your next party.

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