Farm-to-plate masters, Heirloom LA, are the caterers for L.A.’s in-the-know healthy hostesses. We share their hyper-local recipes all the time here on the site because they never fail to amaze us with their fabulous food and meticulous care for ingredients!
This all-veggie appetizer idea boots heavy crackers and breads right out of the equation and adds in more local, seasonal produce instead. Catch the simple recipe below, then come back next week as we share Heirloom’s beautiful herb-infused marinade for dressing up olives, cheese and everything else you’d like to top these red pepper “chips” with!
The undeniable difference between purchasing produce directly from a farmer is most notably evident when using raw components like we did for these red pepper poppers. The red bell peppers from JF Organic Farms, available through the summer, are not only sexy in color, but bright and explosive in concentrated flavor. There’s no comparison to the store bought equivalent!
Here, we piped on a confit pepper and chickpea purée and topped it with olives and bits of some marinated feta. It’s sort of like a Greek salad you can tray pass and eat with your hands. Engage your kids to help make the purée so they feel connected to the cooking process – it’s a practical trick to get them to eat healthy!
Red Pepper “Crackers” with Spring Chickpea Purée
Makes 4 cups
sauce pot w/lid or aluminum foil for top
hand blender, beverage blender or food processor
oven or range
For the puree:
2 cups chickpeas, fully cooked (if you are using canned chickpeas, be sure to rinse in cold water)
2 red bell peppers, seeded, diced in small pieces about the size of a dime
1 red onion, peeled, diced small
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh herbs, leaves only (your choice: rosemary, thyme, marjoram, lavender, basil)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vinegar (red wine, white wine, rice wine, champagne, white balsamic or sherry)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into “crackers”
1/4 cup feta, diced
1/4 cup persian cucumbers, diced
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup green olives, sliced
2 cups herb-infused olive oil marinated feta and olives *
Combine all ingredients except lemon juice in sauce pot and mix until evenly distributed. Cook covered for 40-45 minutes, either on the stove top on low heat or in an oven preheated to 250 degrees F.
Remove lid and, while hot, blend until smooth. When desired smoothness has been reached, stir in fresh lemon juice and additional soft herbs such as chervil, parsley, basil, tarragon, dill or mint. Cool to room temperature.
While the purée cools, combine the feta, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and olives in a mixing bowl. Add the herb-infused olive oil marinade. Set aside.
To assemble, arrange the chips so the inside of the pepper is facing up. Add a dollop of chickpea purée to each chip. Top with the marinated feta mixture and a sprinkle of fresh herbs, as garnish.
* Get the recipe for HeirloomLA’s marinated feta and olives early next week here on TCM!