Picture an Italian antipasto board overflowing with prosciutto, salami, salty olives, fresh mozzarella, and rustic artisanal breads with olive oil. For me it just does not get much better than that, unless you add a delicious Italian Sweet Pepper Pickle to the mix. Just the sight of a beautifully prepared antipasto platter is enough to change the mood of an entire evening, enticing you to the table for a shared meal of pure indulgence and fun with family and friends. So pull out your favourite board, invite a few friends around and get creative.
My Italian sweet pepper pickle is a recipe that has evolved over the years. I have always made a simple red and yellow pepper pickle by slicing the peppers up into thin strips, cooking them on the stove in a litle white wine vinegar, adding a teaspoon of sugar and a dash of salt, and slowly sauteeing them until soft. Once they are cooked I add a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, and cook a further few minutes until the syrup is dark, sweet and thick. Although this is still one of my favourite versions, the recipe I am giving you today is more traditional.
There are only two things to remember when making these Italian Sweet Pepper Pickles.
- As in all pickling, use the freshest produce. Its no good using those wrinkled old peppers that are about to be thrown out, because your end product will just be a mushy mess. You want your peppers to be crisp and as fresh as possible so that when they are cooked they still have all their beautiful vibrant colour.
- Always sterilize your pickling jar by immersing in a pot of boiling water on the stove, and never reuse old rusted lids if using a metal lid. I like to use pickling jars with a rubber seal, they are cheap and the seal works like a charm.
I use marinated artichokes from a jar to add to these peppers, as they are soft and tender and working with artichokes is just plain hard work as far as I am concerned. There are so many varieties of marinated artichokes, I am sure you will be able to find one that you like. If you live in South Africa, I suggest the Woolworths brand, they are even delicious on their own. Adding the capers or caper berries adds a new dimension to this recipe which I am sure you will love.
If you haven’t already tried my Sweet and Sour Bread and Butter Pickle, I think you should, its a great pickle to have in the fridge as it goes so well with meat, on sandwiches, or with a cheese board. Get the recipe here.
A delicious pickle to serve with cheese boards and meat
- 3 sweet red peppers
- 3 orange/yellow peppers
- 2 pickled artichokes from a jar
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
- 2 tsp capers or caper berries
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- enough white wine vinegar to partially cover the peppers
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Deseed and slice the peppers
Place peppers in a saucepan with enough white wine vinegar to partially cover them and gently saute until soft. Sprinkle sugar and salt on the peppers and keep a watch over the pan so that they do not burn. Once the vinegar has reduced by half and peppers are soft remove from the heat and allow to cool. The vinegar will be thickened slightly and sweetened by the sugar.
Chop one or two pickled artichokes and place in a bowl
Add the cooled peppers and vinegar, add the whole garlic clove and black peppercorns and toss to combine.
Place in sterilized jars and refrigerate. These will keep in the fridge for a few months.