In a recent post, I talked about Round of Hungary peppers (a.k.a., pimento cheese peppers). Together with the Italian long peppers featured in my most recent post with recipe, they are my current favorites in the pepper department. I have been experimenting with roasted peppers in several recipes with varying degrees of success. On Saturday morning, I roasted seven Round of Hungary peppers, which gave me enough material for a couple of experiments. One of them was a success worth relating.
In looking around for ideas for a dip to pair with my version of Lavash crackers (which have become part of my repertoire, due to their popularity) and some of my homemade bread, I arrived at this recipe from Bon Appetit, which I amended to suit my ingredients and preferences. Roasted red peppers from a jar? Not as long as I can get these beauties at the farmers' market1:
My list of ingredients was as follows:
- 1/2 cup whole almonds, blanched, peeled and toasted in the oven for 12 minutes at 350 F (I am not sure what "natural almonds" means in the original recipe) [Note: I measure the almonds after I toast them; the weight is 75 g]
- 1 cup drained roasted peppers from jar my recent batch of oven-roasted Round of Hungary peppers (see Note below)
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (aceto balsamico) [I didn't have red wine vinegar]
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice2 [instead of some of the vinegar]
- A generous pinch of dried grated orange zest (inspired by Mario Batali — more on this when I write my post for the current edition of Cook the Books)
- 3 garlic cloves, roasted with the skin on and then peeled (see Note below)
- 1 tablespoon fresh bread crumbs (made from my homemade walnut sourdough bread)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (olio d'oliva)
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Note: Given their shape, I roast this kind of peppers whole, at 375 F. After 25 minutes or so, I turn them stem-side down and complete the roasting. When done, I put them in a paper bag to steam and then peel them and remove the seeds. I wrap the garlic cloves in a piece of foil and roast them with the peppers, taking them out when I turn the peppers. When cooled, I peel the cloves.
For the preparation, I followed mostly the inspiring recipe.
Finely chop the almonds in a food processor. Add roasted peppers, bread crumbs, orange zest, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic and process to a coarse purée.
With the machine running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process a little longer.
Season dip to taste with sea salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl.
Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
If you don't need the whole batch, spoon half in a one-cup container. Cover the surface with a small piece of wax paper, put the lid and freeze. Thaw before serving.
I really liked the result, and so did our dinner guests on Saturday. First, the color attracts you, then the flavor conquers you. And let's not forget the texture, with the almonds providing a pleasant crunch to counter the creaminess of the puréed roasted peppers. Round of Hungary peppers really shone in this recipe. If at some point I only have access to bell peppers, I will use those to make the dip, because I am sure I will make this again — and soon.
This is my contribution to edition #254 of Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, now organized by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once and hosted this week by Yasmeen of Health Nut.
This post contains the roundup of the event.
1 The round of Hungary peppers in the photo were used to make Cauliflower with Cheese. The ones I used to make the recipe described in this post were all dark red like the one on the bottom right corner of the photo.
2 I had omitted this and added it after publishing the post: apologies to the early readers.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the salsa cremosa di peperoni rossi arrosto e mandorle audio file [mp3].
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