When Stefano Tagliente, the executive chef at the wonderful Il Melograno hotel in Monopoli, made these for author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, he laid each piece of roasted pepper on a small sheet of plastic wrap, spread the bread crumb mixture on the pepper and then used the plastic wrap to roll it up into a firm, tight package, twisting the ends to secure them. He steamed the packages briefly, then unwrapped the rolled stuffed peppers and finished cooking them on a baking sheet in the oven. His method makes a neater presentation and avoids the use of toothpicks.
How to Make the Ultimate Umami-Bomb Vegetarian Demi-Glace
1 1/2 tablespoons golden raisins
4 large red or yellow bell peppers
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped capers
1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 rinsed and boned salted anchovies or 4 small oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
Soak the raisins in a small bowl of hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, roast the peppers directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning frequently, until the skins are charred all over and the peppers just begin to collapse. Transfer them to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for 20 minutes. Peel, core and seed the peppers. Cut them lengthwise into quarters, removing any membranes as you go.
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, combine the capers, pine nuts, anchovies, bread crumbs, parsley and drained raisins. Season with salt and black pepper and add the olive oil to make a thick paste.
Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil. On a large work surface, lay out all the pepper pieces, skinned sides down; place a heaping teaspoon of the stuffing at the widest end of each piece. Beginning at that end, firmly roll up the peppers and secure with toothpicks.
Bake the stuffed peppers for about 15 minutes, or until they are warmed through and the tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately or at room temperature.