This Roasted Red Pepper Spread belongs with the bright, luscious flavors of California. Any time you roast a fresh pepper, whether they be bell or chili peppers, sweetness emerges giving the peppers a milder and more palatable flavor than when raw. If you have the time to spend on roasting your own peppers, which take only a few minutes on your outdoor grill - or on an open flame on your gas stove - the results will be well worthwhile. Alternatively, if you wish to omit this step in the recipe, you may purchase all ready roasted red bell peppers in a jar. Caution: These may be costly!
Roasted peppers freeze extremely well, too. After the initial charring and scraping of such, these can be frozen in plastic ziploc bags or if you own one, a Foodsaver bag. This way, you can pull them from the freezer when needed for specific recipes such as this one. My version of this roasted red pepper spread was inspired by my husband who insisted I use up the peppers and the jalapeno which were hiding in the refrigerator bin. The fresh flavors of this recipe are addicting and are so much better than store bought. Even though this recipe was used for a spread, this would also make a wonderful sauce to add to pasta just by making the spread a little looser by adding either more oil or even vegetable stock to make it saucier.
3 large red bell peppers
1 large jalapeno chili pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp. olive oil
Ground black pepper
1. Roast the bell peppers and the jalapeno on the grill or open flame until charred. Place them in a sealed container for 10 minutes and then remove the charred skin with the back of a knife. Slit the peppers open and repeat by deseeding with the back of a knife, scraping the seeds away.
2. In a shallow pan over medium heat, add the pine nuts and toast until golden. This will take less than 2 minutes. Remove the nuts from the heat and cool. In a food processor combine the bell peppers, jalapeno, cilantro, toasted pine nuts and blend into a puree adding the olive oil through the filter whilst processing. Taste the spread and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve this delicious bell pepper spread with crostinis, fresh bread, crackers or with plain hummus and pita bread.