It has come to my attention that in the two and a half year life of this blog I have never posted an appetiser recipe. Please don’t think I am anti-appetiser. Quite the opposite in fact. I fully acknowledge the power of an interesting and palate delighting appetiser to help stimulate conversation between dinner guests and bring people together over a new flavour experience. The corks are popped, the first glasses of wine are poured and just like magic the veil of the night is drawn over the party and conversations, laughter, and friendly arguments begins.
Appetisers are a welcoming gesture to your guests. They set the dinner party apart from an every night meal. They show that you have given extra thought to what might delight their senses and relax them into the evening.
When I saw these miniature sweet peppers at the markets the other weekend I knew they would make the perfect base for a summertime appetiser. The first stalks of sweet corn have been showing up in our markets and grocery stores lately too, and rather than just eating them all quickly steamed and greedily devoured in a shower of corn juice, I decided to celebrate these two heralds of summer with a recipe perfect for long hot evenings filled with cool glasses of sparkling wine, and the sparkling company of my friends.
The best part of this appetiser is that it will not have you stressing out. These boats of summery goodness can be prepared in advance, and they are just as good served hot, cold or anywhere in between. If you have an eclectic mix of dietary requirements at your dinner party (which is increasingly common nowadays) you can rest assured that these are gluten free, vegetarian, and can be made dairy-free/vegan by omitting the cheese. I do love the addition of the cheese to the sweet thyme, smoky paprika, and slight bite of chilli flakes.
Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
Makes 20 halves | Easily multiplied | Vegetarian | Gluten Free
Vegan variation: leave out mozzarella. Otherwise prepare as directed.
- 10 mini sweet peppers (capsicums)
- 2 large cobs of corn, outside layers removed
- 1 small red onion
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoke paprika
- Small pinch chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup grated mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside until needed.
- Halve mini peppers from top to bottom. Remove white ribs and seeds from the inside. You can leave the green stalk on for decorative purposes, or remove if you wish.
- Lay halved peppers on the prepared baking sheet.
- Cut kernels from each corn cob. The easiest way to do this is to cut each cob in half and place the flat (cut) section on the chopping board and then cut down, keeping close to the cob, removing the kernels.
- Finely dice red onion.
- Heat olive oil over a medium heat in a medium frying pan. Place corn kernels, red onion, paprika, chilli flakes (if using), fresh thyme, salt, and pepper into pan. Cook until the onion is translucent and the corn has turned a darker yellow. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Cool to room temperature.
- Mix grated cheese into cooled corn mixture.
- Using clean hands scoop corn mixture into the prepared sweet peppers. Press down slightly to ensure the mixture is packed inside. Place stuffed peppers back onto baking tray. Repeat until they are all filled.
- Place peppers into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove and serve. Leftovers will keep up to two days in the refrigerator. They are an excellent addition to a lunchtime salad.