Piquillo red peppers—small with a delicate flesh, and slightly piquant—are often stuffed but are also extraordinary simply cut in strips and combined with olive oil and garlic. Here they are filled with shrimp and elegantly presented on a bed of salad greens, which is how I ate them at the stunning Tàpies restaurant in the deluxe El Castell hotel, high in the Pyrenees overlooking the city of La Seu d’Urgell. There is really no substitute for piquillo peppers in this exceptional recipe, so make the effort to find them either in a gourmet shop or online.
- 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ pound shrimp, unshelled
- 2 teaspoons minced onion, such as Vidalia or other sweet onion
- 1 teaspoon minced scallions
- 6 teaspoons minced parsley
- 6–8 very small piquillo peppers, or very small pimientos, home prepared
- 1 bunch watercress
- Frisee or other decorative lettuce
- Thinly sliced small white onions (about 1½ inch diameter)
Whisk together in a small bowl, the vinegar and mustard. Whisk in the oil, salt, pepper, and sugar.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the shrimp, and cook very briefly, just until they turn opaque. Shell the shrimp and chop medium-fine. Place in a bowl and gently mix in the onion and scallions, 2 teaspoons of the parsley, and 4 teaspoons of the vinaigrette. Taste for salt. [May be prepared ahead]
Fill each whole piquillo pepper with about 4 teaspoons of the shrimp mixture. Stand them upright on a serving platter, or on individual dishes, filled side down. Arrange the watercress and frisée around them and scatter the sliced onions all around. Drizzle the peppers and salad greens with the remaining dressing and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve at room temperature.
This recipe serves 8, and includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving.