Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Roasted Sweet Red Pepper and Garlic Spread/Dip

Our pepper patch surprisingly put out yet more crimson beauties. Being somewhat familiar with Balkan/Turkish cuisine via burek and gözleme, I looked to Lyutenitsa/Ajvar for inspiration. Because that spread is made with a specific variety of pepperthe roga of broad shoulders tapering to a pointand often served with feta, already the departure from the original is so steep since I will have to make do with our potager's piments des Landes and sweet red bell peppers. Therefore I have jumped off the culinary cliff by adding cheese directly to the mixture. Said cheese is not even feta, but cream cheese. Daring is my middle name, bien sûr!

Fennel fresh from our potager is often my go-to herb

If only I ate this as a tiny kid, I would have been able to respond I want to make sweet red pepper spread when asked what I want to do when I grow up. I am tempted to ask Dirac the kitten what he would like to be when he grows up, but I afraid his reply will be, I want to be a paper shredder, so I refrain.

makes about 8 fluid ounces/240 ml
  • Peppers, red, sweet, large, roasted, 4 or the equivalent if using ones much smaller than bell peppers
  • Garlic, roasted, heads, 4 (about 4 T of mashed garlic)
  • Olive oil, 2 T
  • Lemon juice, 6 tsp
  • Fennel, fresh, finely minced, 2 tsp
  • Cream cheese, 10 T
Detailed instructions for roasting peppers are here

...and for roasting garlic, here.

Roasting more heads than required for this recipe makes sense because any surplus can be frozen.

Not a chestnut!

Place coarsely chopped roasted peppers and roasted garlic paste into a food processor and whirl until mostly smooth if you desire tiny bits of juicy pepper remaining. If you prefer complete smoothness, process until you get the consistency/texture you want. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, fennel, cream cheese and whirl again.

Salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour to firm its texture and deepen its flavour.

Serve with any manner of chips, toast, and crackers. Sourdough rye grilled with olive oil was my preferred choice but as my quiet kitchen world suddenly erupted into various, barely contained disasters such as a beloved appliance going kaput, bells, whistles,  paroxysms going off inside and outside the house, and Persistent Percy, better known as Dirac the kitten, getting himself into scrapes I did not know even existed, I instead gratefully embraced packaged Swedish flatbread drizzled with a little olive oil. Pas trop mal! I am thinking ahead...maybe some mixed into pasta or filling ravioli or smeared on a hot sandwich wrapIt's lovely stuff and it's freezes well also!

À la prochaine!


Sweet red peppers and pasta
Sweet red pepper and white bean soup