Friday, July 5, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper "Pesto"

I don't know if I should be calling this pretty orange sauce "pesto", there's no Parmesan (or pine nuts) in it. I'm only doing it because it does have nuts in it, and I think it would work for the same applications: slathered on pizza, pasta, baguette, pita chips, sandwiches, grilled meat and so on. 

You don't have to be a kitchen over-achiever and grill your own peppers, the ones you  buy at the store or deli are just fine. Actually they might even be better because they'll be the nice sweet ones from Italy or Spain. Plus you can sound really pompous when you  mention that they're, "Imported from Europe."

You'll need some kind of blender or food processor for this easy sauce/spread.

1 10 ounce jar of roasted red Spanish or Italian peppers, drained
1/2 mounded cup of roasted and salted and Marcona almonds (if you can't get those, regular almonds are fine, but you want them peeled and roasted and if they are unsalted, add more salt to the recipe.) For a thicker dip, use one whole cup.
1 tablespoon FRESH oregano leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar, I used red wine pomegranate, for the dip use the juice of one lemon instead.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 smashed garlic clove (a small one)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon of creme fraiche, or something similar like heavy cream, sour cream or cream cheese (or that Toffuti stuff to keep it vegan)
OR, for the dip version, omit the creme fraiche and add 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes.

Blend all the ingredients really well in your blending machine of choice, then let it sit in the refrigerator for at least a half hour, or save it in there up to a week (or freeze it for longer). This makes a cereal bowl sized amount which would be plenty for spreading on appetizers, or it would be enough to coat a bowl of buttered pasta for two.

If raw garlic is a bit much for you, you can add dry granulated garlic, about a teaspoon instead. In that case I would add a few extra splashes of vinegar for punch.