Cherry Pepper Delights, or pickled and stuffed cherry peppers, are the absolute best store-bought-turned-homemade appetizer you can make.
They're a go-to at Italian delis and olive bars, right on par with the spicy marinated olives. And though the olive bar can help you create an awesome array of antipasto snacks, they can get really expensive!
Therefore, I've been turning to homemade versions of my favorite marinated and pickled items. Cherry Pepper Delights are at the very top of that list.
What is a Cherry Pepper Delight?
Cherry pepper delights are usually pickled cherry peppers, stuffed with a piece of provolone wrapped in prosciutto, and then packed in olive oil until ready to enjoy. They make for a perfect salty, briny mid-day snack, when you want more than just an granola bar, but aren't quite ready for dinner.
They also make for an impressive addition to your holiday or game day antipasto spread. Plus, anything you make at home that most people buy in jars is sure to amaze your guests.
And if you like these cherry peppers, you'll also love my other Italian pepper recipe, Italian Long Hots with Parmesan Breadcrumbs.
The Cherry Pepper
As its name implies, Cherry Pepper Delights use cherry peppers as the main ingredient. Cherry peppers are fairly spicy, but if you're still warming up to spice, you'll welcome the fresh mozzarella's ability to cool down the intensity of the spice. Give it a try, don't let the spice intimidate you.
The Cheese in Cherry Pepper Delights
Traditionally, they call for provolone cheese. Though I sometimes use provolone to bring a bold cheesy flavor to foods like chicken meatballs, mac and cheese, and turkey sandwiches, I don't love biting into a hunk of provolone.
So instead of provolone, I use fresh mozzarella. Its freshness nicely counteracts the brininess of the pepper and saltiness of the meat.
I specifically use Ciliegine Mozzarella, which means "cherry size Mozzarella". These little balls of mozzarella fit perfectly inside of a cherry pepper once wrapped in salami. You can find them in the cheese section of most grocery stores.
The Meat in Cherry Pepper Delights
Cherry Pepper Delights usually call for prosciutto. Now, good prosciutto is truly delicious. Good prosciutto is soft and tender, not tough or stringy. But good prosciutto is also expensive, and I find it hard to justify stuffing expensive, delicate prosciutto inside of a pepper where it can get a little lost.
Therefore, I opt for thinly sliced Genoa salami, which has a soft texture and will allow for an easy biting experience and delicious flavor.
Feel free to trial other deli meats as well, such as mortadella or pepper turkey. If you want to keep it vegetarian, simply leave the meat out and substitute with a second cheese such as thinly sliced Swiss or provolone.
These Cherry Pepper Delights are quite easy to prepare. They just need several hours in the refrigerator to soak up the pickling liquid. However, you can do anything else during this pickling time, so don't let the timing deter you.
- Blanch for 3 minutes
- Soak in vinegar mixture for 4-12 hours.
- Stuff with mozzarella and salami
Watch how to make them on TikTok. OR...Print
Cherry pepper delights are the most fun and impressive part of an antipasto plate.
- 12 cherry peppers
- 12 thin slices of Genoa salami
- 12 "Ciliegine" Mozzarella balls
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- ½ tsp sugar or 1 tsp agave
- ½ tsp salt
- Olive oil for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, use a knife to carefully cut in a circle around the top of each pepper, like you would when carving a pumpkin. Remove and discard the stems and seeds.
- Boil Peppers for 3 minutes, then drain, shaking off excess water, and transfer to a container just large enough to fit the peppers snugly.
- Pour both vinegars, salt, and sugar over the peppers. Close the lid, and shake to combine. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
- To stuff, wrap one mozzarella ball in one slice of salami and stuff the salami/mozzarella ball into a pepper. Repeat for each pepper.
- Arrange on a plate, drizzle generously with your favorite delicious olive oil, and serve.
Keywords: Cherry Pepper Delights