Roasted Red Bell Pepper Spread

1-1/2 cups

This recipe is an adaptation of a spread from John C's Italian grandmother and another one from a friend. This is very colorful and the spread can be prepared in advance. It is a favorite appetizer for almost any occasion. It can be used as a dip with pita chips or as a topping for goat cheese on toasted rounds of french bread.

Ingredients

Red Pepper Spread 6 whole red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh Basil
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 tsp. capers
8 calmata Olives (pitted)
1/4 cup Pinenuts
4 clove garlic, peeled and mashed to a paste

Instructions

Roast the peppers or use the Peloponnese roasted red peppers in a jar (Be sure to drain and pat them dry).
In a small skillet, toast the pinenuts until fragrant and slightly brown.
Allow to cool on a plate.
In the same skillet, over low heat, cook the slightly smashed garlic in a small amount of olive oil; do not allow to brown.

Combine the other ingredients in the work bowl or a food processor.
Process until the capers and basil are very finely chopped.
Add the peppers, garlic & pinenuts and process using the on/off pulses.
Stop several times to scrape down the sides of the work bowl to make sure the mixture is evenly chopped.
Check the seasonings and adjust as necessary.

Store the spread in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Remove to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

To Serve: Slice a baguette into 1/4 inch rounds. Brush the bread rounds with olive oil and bake in a 375 oven until browned and crisp. Spread a teaspoon of the red pepper mixture on each bread round. Crumble goat cheese on each round and garnish with a basil leaf.