vibrant reds ::::
As you swim in sweet treats and roses for Valentine’s Day soon, you will certainly need a salty break. One cannot live on sugar alone, despite the pleas of sugar-for-every-meal-and-inbetween from my three-year-old daughter Peach. Push those chocolates off of those satin sheets, and dazzle your Valentine with a brilliant Romesco dip instead. And I will eat the chocolates for you.
This really isn’t Romesco sauce. It’s a Romesco-ish dip. It’s an inspiration from tasting Romesco long ago, adapted to my pregnant food aversions months ago when I was pregnant with Grub. The real Romesco originated in Tarragona, Catalonia, and is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and red bell peppers. Roasted tomatoes are also added, as well as vinegar and onion. Bread is also used uniquely to thicken the sauce.
I love the intensity of sundried tomatoes, so these were my choice for the rich tomato flavor I wanted. Make sure you find a good quality brand as the oil in some brands may look and taste “muddy.” I don’t have any specific brand that I use, but inspect the jar for muddiness if I am not making my own sun-dried tomatoes. Roasted red peppers are about as close to heaven as one can get. I had no choice but to use these. The sour cream, obviously not Catalan, provides a rich creamy tang without being too heavy. I did not add the bread as a thickener as I felt the mixture was already thick enough for dipping without it running off of my crackers. I also skipped the garlic and onion that so many people would expect in a recipe like this, as 1) when I developed the recipe I was pregnant in my first trimester and the thought of onions, garlic, strong oils, or meats made me want to puke; and 2) adding onions or garlic to the recipe after said pukiness era didn’t add any increase in enjoyment of eating the whole batch in one day. No, I really didn’t do that. Well….
This dip also tastes great as a sandwich spread, or atop a cream-cheesed bagel. Your head may just explode if you put this in a grilled cheese sandwich.
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (Using whole almonds are fine too, just they may not break up as well in the food processor. The texture will be more chunky.)
- 4 medium jarred roasted red peppers, drained and dried slightly (Making your own are even better, but you may need to increase the salt slightly.)
- 8 sun-dried tomato halves, in oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Toast almonds in 350 degree oven until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
- Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Taste to add more salt if needed. Makes just less than 2 cups (approximately 480 ml).
- Serve with pita chips or crackers. May be served at room temperature or chilled. It can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.