Piquillo peppers, descendants of Peru’s chile de arbol, require a long, hot, dry growing season, which fits Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley to a T. Gardeners and farmers get their piquillo pepper seeds from the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University or online from Peppermania. Piquillos are not edible raw; instead, they’re smoke-roasted over wood and then packed in brine in jars or cans. If you grow piquillos, simply smoke-roast them until they’re done. Banana peppers are a good substitute for the piquillo peppers, too.
Green Olive Tapenade
1 cup (227 g) pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (42 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers
Piquillo Pepper-Stuff Chicken
8 (5 1/4-ounce/150 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces (227 g) fresh goat cheese, Boursin, or cream cheese, at room temperature
8 jarred piquillo peppers or 8 jarred roasted red peppers (about 16 ounces/454 g)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing
Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.
For the Green Olive Tapenade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Place each chicken breast between waxed or parchment paper and flatten with a meat mallet to an even 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thickness. With a knife or a rubber spatula, spread 1 ounce (28 g) of goat cheese down the center of each chicken breast, then top with 1 piquillo pepper, opened and spread out. Season with salt and pepper. Start from a long edge of the chicken and roll up. Secure with toothpicks. Brush with olive oil.
Grill the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per quarter turn, 16 to 20 minutes total.
To serve, remove the toothpicks and cut the chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices, then arrange them on a platter. Dollop the grilled chicken slices with tapenade and serve.
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Reprinted with permission from Red, White, and 'Que © 2017 by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, Running Press. Photo credit: Steve Legao
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