Monday, August 6, 2012

Romesco spread: my latest dipping obsession

Apparently, I like dips and spreads.  I make them and blog about them enough.  First it was hummus, then guacamole and now Romesco spread.  This latest dipping obsession, essentially an almond and roasted red pepper spread, is completely new to me.  I was introduced to it over at The Sweet Beet.  Her addiction description was enough to make me try it.  You should too!  It's different and versatile and absolutely delicious.

I started with The Sweet Beet's recipe and made a few adjustments based on my personal taste.

Here are my adjustments:
  • Croutons were used instead of plain bread crumbs
  • Red and yellow peppers roasted because that is what I had on hand.
  • Instead of a fresh tomato I used three small whole roma stewed tomatoes.
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic instead of just one.  (The first day this dip was still not garlicky enough, day two the 4-5 cloves added a much needed kick).  Note: my girls still found the spread tasty with the additional garlic
  • If I were making this for only grown-ups I'd add a dash of chili pepper for an added kick.  
I followed the directions for roasting the peppers and they were delicious; still a tad tough to peel so next time I'll char them even more.
In the food processor this spread is a piece of cake to make.  It went immediately into a bowl for scooping with cucumbers and chips.
This morning I poured Romesco spread on my omelette for breakfast and Addie and I spread it on crusty bread for lunch.
I'm already planning on making a second batch this week.  It's fantastic on everything.  I imagine it being served alongside crusty bread and olives as an appetizer or poured over grilled chicken for dinner.  The uses are endless.   This is a must try!  You won't regret it. In fact, you just might become obsessed like me!

As of August 20, 2012.  I've made this spread 5 times now and every time it just gets better. It's the type of spread that can be slightly different every time you make it.  I enjoy the evolution of a recipe. Here are some additional changes I've made.  This is the original recipe here.  Review this and the directions.  Then see my suggested changes or additions.

  • It's key to really char your red peppers.  I definitely prefer the dip with only red peppers now.  Yellow peppers are good as well or a combination of the two but the red peppers have a deeper pepper flavor. The yellow peppers are much milder.(But honestly, I like the spread so much I make it no matter what kind of peppers I have on hand). They should be charred more like the following photo, not like wimpy char I did that first time (photo above).  The more charred the peppers skins are the more roasted the inner flesh will taste in your Romesco spread.  
  • After you char them it's crucial to bake them at 250 degrees for 15 minutes until they flesh is soft and the charred skins easily peel off. 
  • My most recent Romesco spread was a deeper red and thicker, more like a paste than a sauce, with a delicious rich roasted pepper/toasted almond flavor.  

  • I've been placing three small slices of white bread in the oven to toast and then crumbling them in the food processor instead of using crumbs (I ran out of croutons).  I like the chunkiness of the crumbled bread.  
  • If I have a fresh tomato on hand I chop and seed it before adding to the food processor.  If I don't, I just use 3 whole stewed tomatoes (small Roma tomatoes).  I always add a bit of the stewed tomato juice whether I use fresh or canned tomatoes.  
  • Use 3/4 cup toasted almonds for a thicker paste
  • Still stand by my addition of 3-4 cloves of garlic.  
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika instead of one.
  • Don't forget the salt and pepper to taste.  


Daniela Swider said...

It sounds yummy - I'll have to try it. What's your crusty bread recipe?

Sara said...

No recipe, just bread preferably fresh made that day, warmed in the oven until crusty on the outside! I love bread with everything.