How to stuff a sweet Italian

The sweet Italian frying peppers have hit the farm stands and they beg to be used in many different ways. I’m stuffing mine with smoked trout and chèvre for a delightful treat.

A recipe often begins life with a flavor combination found in something totally different. I found the most beautiful sweet Italian frying peppers at my favorite local farm stand Harlow’s in Westminster. They were so lovely, and so large, I didn’t want to just fry them or chop them up and add them to something. I was thinking out loud, and told my sister Jan I wanted to stuff them, but I didn’t want to use a stuffing of rice or quinoa or other grain we’ve done before. She suggested I use mashed potatoes.

Inspiration from a local restaurant

That sounded wonderful to me, and I doubt I’d ever stuffed a pepper with mashed potatoes before. On its own, it sounded a bit bland, but then I remembered one of my sister’s favorite dishes of all time, a little tart that is served as an appetizer at T.J. Buckley’s in Brattleboro, Vt. Now, if you are from out of town looking for a nice place to eat, you would probably drive right past this little Worcester dining car establishment, but that would be a mistake. You won’t find burgers and fries there, but beautifully prepared upscale French inspired dishes using local organic ingredients.

Two great flavors combine

            My sister’s favorite dish there is a smoked trout and chèvre tartlet with caramelized leek, roast corn, and thyme with crème fraîche and ethically sourced paddlefish roe. That’s a lot of flavor, and a lot of work I’ll gladly leave to the master chef. I pared the stuffing down to the predominant flavors, the trout and the chèvre, and let these shine, in a filling of mashed potatoes with an additional nod to the original with fresh thyme from my herb garden. With my husband’s saturated fat restrictions, I left out the crème fraiche. The chèvre has less sat fat than cow cheeses, and you don’t need as much because of its strong flavor, so its place was secure. Each stuffed half has less than two grams of saturated fat and about 120 calories.

Use Yukon Gold

            I made my own mashed potatoes from about 2 lbs. of Yukon Golds, one of my favorites. I had some of this mash left which I put to work the next morning for breakfast. Mashed potatoes never go to waste in this house. If you already have mashed potatoes made up, this comes together really quickly.

A delightful harmony

            We were delighted at how these turned out, and they will definitely be part of our regular rotation. What we all loved was the harmony of the flavors; you could taste every component and nothing dominated. We were very quiet as we tasted. Yum. 

This dish served as centerpiece for a family supper table, but it is also memorable on a dinner party buffet. You can even make this vegan with a couple of simple swaps.

Chèvre and Smoked Trout Stuffed Sweet Italian Frying Peppers

  • 6 large sweet Italian frying peppers
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 2 large scallions, whites and greens, minced
  • 6 oz. chèvre, crumbled, divided
  • 6 oz. smoked trout, shredded
  • ½ tsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C.)

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and gently scoop out the seeds and ribs. I used my melon baller. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and lightly salt. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from the oven.

In a large bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, scallions, 4 oz. of the goat cheese, and trout and mix well. Season lightly with salt and pepper (the trout and cheese are a bit salty so start slowing), taste, and correct the seasoning.

Using a teaspoon, divide the mixture among the 12 halves. Sprinkle the rest of the chèvre over the tops, and spritz with a bit of olive oil.

  Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes.

  Arrange on a platter, and dive in! 

Vegan version:

            Substitute vegan feta for the chèvre and smoked baked tofu for the smoked trout.

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  1. Bernadette says:

    OMG Dorothy, you get a prize for originality and I am sure deliciousness.

    1. Thanks Bernie! We were all pretty happy at how these turned out.

  2. Suzassippi says:

    Oh, this is now on my list for my birthday dinner tomorrow! I have been getting these sweet mini peppers and my son and I love them. No trout around here that I have ever seen (either frozen, fresh, or on a local menu), so I will do some substitution on the fish, but this looks and sounds lusciously yummy. Randy is cooking dinner for me, but I am doing my not-a-cake dessert and I will now include the appetizer to my contributions. Perfect timing!

    1. So glad you like the dish, and I am honored you have chosen this for inclusion in your birthday dinner.
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope you are reveling in your special day!!!!

  3. Nancy says:

    Oh Dorothy… we will love these! They sound amazing!
    You are something else for being creative.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Nancy! I’m always looking for a little twist here and there!

  4. Jovina Coughlin says:

    Neat idea using potatoes for the stuffing. I bet these peppers were delicious.

    1. Thanks Jovina. They were savored!

  5. Julia says:

    Ohhh, how beautiful and delicious sounding!

    1. Thank you Julia! Such a delicious combination of flavors, and pretty to behold!

      1. Julia says:

        Do you think it would be good with shrimp or crab? Maybe scallops?

      2. Oh yes, especially the crab! Great idea.

      3. Julia says:

        Thanks! I do love crab.

      4. I do too Julia, especially in the summer for some reason. I think I associate it with lighter meals.

      5. Julia says:

        I also love crab in gumbo at Thanksgiving. My aunt made the best gumbo with crab halves. I do miss her and her wonderful cooking.

      6. Ah, sounds like a recipe of memories!

      7. Julia says:

        Yes, indeed!

  6. CarolCooks2 says:

    I saw some of these lovelty pepppers on my local market the other day and couldn’t think what to make with them…Thanks to you problem solved///They look and sound delicious, Dorothy 🙂

    1. They were so delicious! Definitely going to one of my summer go-to buffet dishes.

  7. Ronit says:

    Lovely combinations in the filling and with the sweet peppers, plus, the dish looks so pretty – can’t ask for more.
    Glad to know T.J. Buckley’s is still there. A very nice place.

    1. Thanks Ronit!
      TJ’s is still there, Chef Michael is still there, and the quality and experience is still the best!

  8. Americaoncoffee says:

    Would your divine dish be a tease or an invite? 🤗

    1. Hmm, I guess it is your choice! 😁

  9. Nancy Richy says:

    I love the title of the post so much!! 😂

    1. Thanks Nancy! It is always fun playing with words.

      1. Nancy Richy says:

        You hit the nail on the head with this one!

  10. Sweet peppers are the best!

    1. No argument from me! I love them!

  11. nancyc says:

    What a great idea! Love the flavors in this–these stuffed peppers look delicious! 🙂

    1. Thank you Nancy! They were really enjoyable, and I’ll keeping this recipe at the top of my lists, especially for a buffet!

  12. You had me at “how to stuff a sweet Italian.” Great title but the actual peppers look fabulous. Yum. Thanks so much for sharing, might be the recipe I take to the neighbors on Sunday. There’ll be some sweet Italians joining us for dinner. Hugs, C

    1. Perfect! I happen to know a couple of sweet Italians too, and I can’t wait to make this for them! Happy eating! It’s a fun recipe.

  13. Linda K says:

    I love the idea of using smoked trout in the stuffing!

    1. Thank you Linda! The smoked trout added the perfect little touch to these. So much character in just a little fish.

  14. Sherry M says:

    i like the sound of that tartlet. i’ve never heard of frying peppers. not sure we have them here. so they’re just for cooking?

    1. The frying peppers are really sweet and flavorful, but since I baked them here, I guess they are really all purpose. If you can’t find them, any sweet red pepper would work, or the cute little mini sweet peppers would make a great little party snack.

  15. You can never go wrong with smoked trout.

    1. I agree! Such a lovely flavor.

  16. Jenna says:

    Wow Dorothy what a beautiful dish, not to mention a gourmet’s delight!

    1. Thank you! We really enjoyed this one, and will again.

  17. Christy B says:

    In addition to the great taste, they look divine!

    1. Thank you! They were memorable for sure!

  18. I’ve had chevre with smoked trout before so I know that is a great combination. But peppers stuffed with mashed potatoes is certainly original. You could certainly ‘stuff a sweet Italian’ by feeding him these peppers 😉

    1. Yes, that was my plan Stefan, and I just happen to know a couple of them! Thanks for stopping by!

  19. NativeNM says:

    I have not seen sweet peppers as large as these! They look incredible and I can only imagine how good they taste stuffed!

    1. They have a lovely sweet flavor Jan, and I look forward to them every year. Such a little window, but so good while they are around.

  20. petespringerauthor says:

    I like your creativity and risk-taking skills when cooking, Dorothy. What’s the worst that can happen? Something that you were optimistic about doesn’t work out. Seems like a small price to pay for the ones that do.

    1. Thanks Pete! Oh, I’ve had my fair share of dismal failures, and usually there is something about them that is salvageable. Right now I’m working on a low-fat, low-carb quiche. Haven’t gotten there yet, but mostly still tastes pretty good!

  21. terrie gura says:

    Smoked trout and goat cheese? Oh yes, you are welcome to bring appetizers to my party ANYTIME! These are the perfect little pick up food, aren’t they? And satisfying, too, I’ll bet.

    1. You make the cocktails, and I’l bring a nibble or two. 🎈🎉
      These are also really delicious using the tiny little sweet peppers we see everywhere now.

  22. I would never have thought of using trout to stuff peppers, what a great idea Dorothy.

    1. Thank you Diane! It is a great combination.

  23. Nancy Richy says:

    Hey, Dorothy (and all chefs) – My sister keeps asking me if I have our mother’s recipe for pork chops with vinegar and celery. I do not; in fact I don’t even remember eating this dish when we were kids. Is anyone familiar with a dish like this? If so, would you pass along your recipe? Many thanks!

    1. My mom used to make a pork chop dish with apples and apple cider vinegar. Basically, she pierced the chops with a fork, browned them on both sides, added a chopped apple and about a half cup of apple cider vinegar, a drizzle of honey, and some sage, covered the pan and let it simmer until the chops were cooked. I don’t see why you couldn’t substitute chopped celery for the apples.
      I think it was common to use vinegar to tenderize pork chops, at least that is what I think, but I may have dreamed that part.

      1. Nancy Richy says:

        So you dream about food, too! LOL!! Thanks for this great recipe; I’ll be sure to pass it along to my sister.

      2. Sometimes I make up recipes in my dreams. Once in a blue moon, they actually work!

      3. Nancy Richy says:


  24. Barefeetbaristas says:

    Your recipes gather love. party A perfect serve for my dinner parties. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ah, thanks for those kind words! It is perfect for a dinner party, because when you serve something special, your guests feel special and that’s what it’s all about.

  25. On wow! These must be mouthwatering!

    1. They are reall good Ribana. Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Chef Mimi says:

    I wish you could visit me and cook for me for a week!!!!!

    1. I’d love that. We’d have a blast in the kitchen together Mimi! We have a lot in common!

  27. Leah says:

    This sounds wonderful! You recipe reminds me of mother-in-law’s taquitos. She would stuff them with mashed potatoes then fry them. I wasn’t sure as well but they actually tastes good!

    1. Oh, I bet those were delicious! Obviously a great memory for you Leah!

      1. Leah says:

        Thanks! They are a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes by turning them into taquitos. 🙂

      2. Of course, in our house there is seldom any mashed potatoes left over unless I make extra and hide them before anyone notices!

      3. Leah says:

        So true about mashed potatoes! If ever there were any leftovers, they do not last long! LOL!

      4. Everyone’s favorite comfort food!

  28. Anonymous says:

    I would love this for an appetizer

    1. It does make a great appetizer, or first course if you are having a dinner party.

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