Summer Stuffed Peppers

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Traditional stuffed peppers usually involve cooking rice, making a stuffing, and baking in the oven. But with the temperatures approaching 90 on a hot summer day, boiling rice and turning on the oven just doesn’t sound appealing. However, local farmers are now harvesting sweet bell peppers, and stuffed peppers are just so good.

Here is a way to beat the heat of baking by using your grill and skipping the rice altogether. This time, stuff the peppers with layers of creamy fresh and local chèvre cheese, just picked tomatoes, and fresh basil for a lighter, summery version of the dish. The best part of this dish? You can pick up almost all the ingredients fresh and local at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, including the white wine.

Summer Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 large green bell peppers, with wide even bottoms
12 oz. chèvre (soft goat cheese)
3 tsp. chopped, flat-leaf parsley
16 large leaves of fresh basil
2 large plum tomatoes seeded and cut into ¼-inch slices
Ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil (high quality)
¼ cup dry white wine

Directions

Turn on grill and set for medium-high temperature

Cut the tops off the peppers and set aside for later use. Core and seed the peppers.

Press 1 tbsp. of chèvre into the bottom of each pepper. Place 2 basil leaves on top of the chèvre and sprinkle with ½ tsp. parsley.

Divide the tomato slices evenly over the basil. Sprinkle with a small amount of pepper and thyme.

Layer 2 more basil leaves in each pepper and drizzle ½ tsp. olive oil over the basil.

Crumble the remaining chèvre into the peppers. Sprinkle more ground pepper and the remaining thyme on top of the cheese.

Place the tops back on peppers and rub the outside of the peppers with the remaining olive oil and put into an aluminum-baking pan. Pour wine into bottom of pan and put pan in the grill and cover.

Bake about 35 minutes, then if you desire decorative grill lines and want to add some char, remove the peppers from the dish, place directly on the grill grate and close the lid. Turn off heat and let peppers cook in the closed grill another 5 minutes. The peppers should be tender.

Serve immediately as a light meal or as a vegetable side dish with your favorite grilled meat or poultry.

A version of this market recipe appears in this week’s edition of Saratoga Today. Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.