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Crab-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

Fleshy, lightly spicy piquillo peppers are the perfect vehicle for a garlic-spiked crabmeat and potato filling. This sophisticated starter is deceptively easy to make, and the layered flavors will impress your guests with their complexity.

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan and drizzling
  • 1/4 lb. fresh-cooked crabmeat, such as Dungeness
  • 1 jar (12 oz.) piquillo peppers

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 425°F.

Prick the skin of the potato in a few places with a fork. Place the potato in a small, shallow pan and bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let the potato cool until it can be handled. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Cut the potato in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a bowl. In a mortar, combine the garlic and salt and mash to a paste with a pestle. Add the olive oil and mix well. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the potato flesh and mix well. Pick over the crabmeat for shell fragments, and then fold it into the potato mixture until evenly distributed.

Oil a baking dish large enough to hold the peppers in a single layer. Drain the peppers well. Using a long, slender spoon, and being careful not to tear the peppers, gently stuff the potato-crabmeat mixture into the peppers, dividing it evenly. Place the stuffed peppers in the prepared baking dish and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake the peppers just until the filling is heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers to warmed individual plates and serve right away. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers, by Amy Sherman (Oxmoor House, 2008).