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Antipasto Peppers with Italian Tuna | Sortachef

Antipasto Peppers with Italian Tuna

My Italian was not at all up to this. ‘Lo sportello automatico non pagare il denaro,’ I said to the beautifully tailored man across the desk from me – as close as I could get with my tourist phrase books to ‘the bank machine ate my money.’ I felt perspiration rise on the back of my neck.

Specialties displayed in a Tuscan shop window

The bank manager listened carefully and looked at the receipt. Rapping his fingers down at the piece of paper as if he were swatting a fly, he came to a decision. ‘This Bankomat,’ he said in almost perfect English as he rose from his chair ‘has been naughty. We know about this.’ He tossed the receipt to one side, wrote out a chit for the sum and steered me toward a teller.

There are few moments so golden as when you move suddenly from acute anxiety to total freedom and this was one of them. I emerged from the bank into the morning of a glorious Italian day, with time to kill and money in my pocket. The Italians were hard at work discussing Italy’s World Cup scores with catcalls and grand gestures. At open-fronted cafes and bars, the clink of cups lent music to the languid bustle on the street. In a light mood I strolled the few blocks to the beach.

On the Via Roma I found a perfect Italian deli. In the shade of orange trees lining the seafront, a modest doorway led to a polished brass and wood interior – not pretentious, but just a little upscale. Beneath gleaming glass stood pastries and little sandwiches, sliced meats and pickles, seafood salads and prepared vegetables. And on the shelves all around were peppers: jars and jars, each filled with the same perfect little stuffed peppers.

‘Peperone con tonnato,’ the woman told me; there was an approving gleam in her eye as she held up a jar. ‘Molto bene,’ she added, and her round face glowed.

Peppers stuffed with tuna, and very good indeed. Here’s an easy take on them, without all the oil.


Antipasto Peppers filled with Italian Tuna


Makes 16 – 18 bite-sized stuffed peppers


One jar piquillo peppers

2  5-ounce cans Tonno Genova

1 ounce finely chopped shallot

2 ounces cream cheese

2 rounded dessert spoons of mayonnaise

½ teaspoon salt


  1. After carefully removing them from the jar, drain and rinse the peppers. Cut the ragged top off each pepper, leaving a cup that is about 1½ inches long.
  2. Open the cans and drain the tuna.
  3. Put the minced shallot into a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and pulse for a few seconds until the pieces of shallot stick to the sides. Scrape down and add the tuna, cream cheese, mayonnaise and salt. Pulse 6 or 8 times, scraping sides as necessary, until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Put the tuna paste into a pastry bag fitted with a wide nozzle. Pipe the paste into the peppers one at a time to barely fill them.
  5. Chill before serving.


Now if you really want to make these in the Italian style, you can drizzle generously with good olive oil. I’m sure the woman at the wonderful Italian deli would approve. But here at Chez Bullhog, we serve these tasty morsels without. Happy eating!


The harbor and castle, south of Lerici's beaches

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At Woodfiredkitchen.com, Sortachef takes you on adventures in the kitchen and beyond, with tales to suit. Many of his offerings are woodfired - a flaming good recipe for pizza, bread, or something different. All recipes are original and tasty. Enjoy!
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