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Roasted Marinated Peppers with Fresh Mozzarella

The red and yellow peppers made a stunning presentation at a fall party, but we'd gladly try red and green peppers for a Christmas party (although we'd marinate them in separate containers). The final step -- cutting and assembling the peppers and cheese -- is a fine time to ask a friend or family member for help.

5 large red bell peppers
5 large yellow bell peppers
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Fresh thyme (if desired)
Juice of 2 lemons
2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake until blackened and soft, about 30 minutes. (Or roast peppers however you like.)

Remove foil and peppers from baking sheet, place peppers in clean paper bag, close and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Prepare marinade of olive oil, vinegar, thyme (if desired), lemon juice and garlic.

When peppers have cooled enough to handle, slip off the skins and scrape off seeds. Cut each pepper into quarters. Add to marinade and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

When you're ready to assemble the hors d'oeuvres, pour off the marinade. (We saved it for a tasty salad dressing.) Thoroughly dry the peppers, blotting with paper towels.

Cut peppers into approximately 90 strips, and cut mozzarella into approximately 90 pieces. (This isn't an exact science, but a pound of mozzarella is just about right for 10 peppers.) Roll each pepper strip around a piece of mozzarella. Secure with a fancy toothpick.

Makes approximately 90 hors d'oeuvres.

Note: If you chose to use bottled roasted red peppers packed in water, this would greatly simplify the preparation, although you'd also have fewer flavors and colors.

Monday, November 19, 2001

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