Sweet Red Pepper - 2 Ways

 
Italian Peperonata (left) and Romesco Sauce (right)
 
Dip #1 - Italian Peperonata
 
Ingredients
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup blended tomatoes, or one large chopped fresh tomato, with the skin peeled off and juice included
½ bunch of fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp salt
1 TB white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
¼ cup softened goat cheese
 
Preparation
In a large pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until just starting to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
 
Stir in garlic, increase heat to medium-high, and cook for 2 minutes.
 
Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 20 minutes.
 
Add tomato and oregano and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to maintain gentle simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are very soft, about 1- 1.5 hours, or until the juice has evaporated, leaving a thicker spread-like consistency.
 
Stir in goat cheese until it has melted. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and season with salt. Stir in vinegar.
 
Serve right away, or chill, then serve reheated, slightly chilled, or at room temperature.
 
Dip #2 - Romesco Sauce
 
Ingredients
1 1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large tomato
5 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
1/2 cup almonds
2 medium red bell peppers
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 TB sherry vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
 
Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.
 
Rub red peppers and whole garlic cloves with 1 tsp olive oil.
 
Place whole, oiled red peppers and oiled garlic, with dry almonds, bread and tomato on baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast almonds until fragrant and bread is crusty and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove almonds and bread and continue roasting garlic and tomato for another 5 minutes. Leave red peppers in, turning once, until charred.
 
Remove peppers from oven, place in a bowl with a cover until cool, then remove skins and seeds.
 
Place all ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth.
 
Taste and season with additional salt and cayenne pepper as needed.
 
Enjoy warm, cool, or cold!

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