This week's recipe for roasted sweet peppers with capers, anchovies, pine nuts and sultanas in garlic sauce was stolen with permission from Peter Chastain, chef and owner of Prima Ristorante in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Peter Chastain joined Prima in Walnut Creek, Calif., in 1999 and purchased it with his partner John Rittmaster in 2005. Peter and John want guests to feel when they enter Prima that they have a sense of being invited into the warmth and stylish comfort of a restaurant in Florence or Rome. Patrons will find warm, earthy colors, and cozy spots to linger over a glass of wine accompanied by market fresh Italian cuisine; either fireside (caminetto), or near the wood burning oven (forno), all adding to the casually elegant charm of the restaurant.
About the chef: A native of Berkley, Calif., Peter Chastain trained under the late, renowned Ken Wolfe at Contra Costa College. Since then, he has been an instructor at Contra Costa College and worked in several leading Bay Area restaurants. Having also worked in Japan and Europe, he has extensive experience in all aspects of kitchen operations, from production to instruction.
Chef Chastain is an American who embraces the Italian sensitivity to ingredient quality and freshness and the Italian sensibility of using foods that are exquisitely pure and immaculately simple.
Chef's tip: This can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator — as long as you allow it to warm up in the kitchen it will be delicious. Some people also prefer a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon. It is important to use fresh California garlic for this dish; imported garlic will impart an acrid, unpleasant flavor, especially as it sits for a while.
Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees.
Place the peppers on the middle rack. Put a cookie sheet underneath them to catch any dripping. Roast for approximately 20 minutes until the skin is charred.
Remove into a bowl and cover with a towel until cool.
Peel the skins off and remove the seeds. Cut into 2 1/2 inch segments, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Slice garlic as thinly as possible. Combine with anchovies, rosemary, and about 1/4 cup oil in a small sauté pan. (Add also the hot chili if using.)
Over low heat, cook until garlic begins to turn golden and anchovies dissolve. Add capers, pine nuts, and sultanas and increase heat until the capers 'flower'. Add breadcrumbs, toast to golden, and remove from heat.
Roll peppers in this mixture until completely coated. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
Arrange on a platter or plate individually. Serve at room temperature.