Serious Eats: Recipes

Healthy & Delicious: Roasted Pepper Halves with Bread Crumb Topping

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson Sturt of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson Sturt]

Having just moved and unpacked the kitchen (finally), my husband and I wanted to celebrate with a somewhat fancy meal. Or, at least as fancy as our remaining 32 boxes of various files, vases, and odd-man-out blankets would allow.

In my book, "fancy" connotes "multiple courses" and/or "something with gold leaf." Since I have no idea where to buy the latter in my new neighborhood—or anywhere, really—we opted for the former. This meant a prepared appetizer, a main course of leftover pizza, and a commemorative beer to punctuate the merriment.

Subsequently, we baptized our new stove with this, Lidia Bastianich's Roasted Pepper Halves with Bread Crumb Topping, from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen. It's simple to prepare, yet impressive enough to elevate the most pedestrian of meals, up to and including a cold slice of pepperoni pie.

The peppers act as both flavoring agent and serving vessel, making it lighter than most breaded hors d'oeuvres. The Parmesan adds a savoriness, while the red pepper flakes provide the heat. Steaming it in chicken broth makes everything didn't-need-a-knife tender.

To make the dish lighter, divide the peppers into thirds or reduce the breadcrumb topping by 33 percent. The prescribed quantities make quite a lot, so no one will miss the extra.

Here's to new homes and fancy-but-not-complicated appetizers. So far, so good.

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