The weather at the end of September has been warm enough for me to continue to appreciate the late summer and early fall harvest of peppers, eggplants, squash, corn and tomatoes, although the fall roots such as celeriac and beets are starting to be available. Peppers are the current season’s prize, arriving large and small, sweet and hot, with many shapes and colors. I could make a new pepper dish nearly every day. The current crop features a bunch of tiny types with colors that range from crimson to a red-green that resembles mahogany, together with every imaginable yellow and orange and green to boot.
I stuffed a variety of small peppers with a simple medley of corn, zucchini, shallots and basil that was bound together by a custard-like combination of milk and egg and sprinkled with cheese. There’s no formula here, except that I use 1/3 cup of milk per egg, adjusting the number of eggs to the amount of filling and number of peppers.
Peppers Stuffed with Corn, Zucchini and Basil
6-8 small to medium peppers
1 shallot or ½ small onion, minced
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1 small zucchini, diced
A few leaves of basil
Salt and pepper
1/3 c milk
Optional: small amount of grated cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Trim the peppers. Cut the top off of those that will stand vertically and cut those that will lie horizontally in half lengthwise through the stems, leaving them intact. Carefully remove the seeds and ribs. Parboil the peppers for about a minute or so in the water and remove to drain and cool.
Saute the shallot or onion in the vegetable oil over medium heat until soft. Add the corn and zucchini and continue to cook, stirring, until tender but not mushy. Remove from the heat to cool slightly. Add the basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly beat the egg and milk together, fold in the cooked vegetables and spoon into the pepper shells. Top each with a pinch of grated cheese if using. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the custard is set and the tops are browned.