an italian aperitif

(as promised, an italian-inspired post...) first off, let me explain an aperitif for all of you who have never seen such a thing on a menu. aperitif is simply a light alcoholic drink with a small snack to stimulate your appetite before a meal. how tantalizing! aperitif is most definitely a european thing, french to be specific, and is very popular in italy. the spritz i mentioned last week made with aperol or compari are by far the most common aperitifs in italy, usally served with potato chips, but a few times we also were served these wonderful, flavor-popping tuna stuffed peppers. we saw them in every deli in italy too! so simple, i knew i'd be able to recreate it at home if i could find the same peppers but i had no idea what they were called. low and behold while looking at cheeses at whole foods, i saw a container of peppers identical to the ones we had in italy. may i now formally introduce you to the piquante pepper, or more commonly known by the brand name peppadew. they have the same look and pop as a cherry tomato, but the bite and heat of a sweet chili. they are grown in south africa (so not traditional italian fare) but the italians took their own spin on these cute little peppers and stuffed them with oil-packed tuna, which is common in many italian dishes across the riviera and northern italy. it seemed like the stuffed peppers at the deli were just that: stuffed with tuna packed in oil. i added a few herbs just to liven up the color and taste a smidgen:


tuna-stuffed piquante peppers - aperitif for 4
1 can oil-packed tuna, oil reserved (you can find some wonderful specialty italian brand or use a local brand)
1 small bunch parsley, minced
1 teaspoon capers
1 small container peppadew peppers

peppadews come cored out already, so all you have to do is simply make a tiny tuna salad with remaining ingredients (simply done in a food processor or by hand with a fork) add the oil from the tuna to the mixture to get a smoother consistency. add more oil if needed. stuff the peppers with the tuna salad using your fingers or a tiny little baby spoon. drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve chilled. 

aperol spritz
2 parts aperol
3 parts presecco
1 splash club soda
1 slice orange

serve over ice, lightly stirred with a slice of orange (which i failed to remember for this picture. shhh....)

buon appetito!!

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