Roast pepper dip: a valuable ingredient in panini… and more!

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I’m sure you know it by now, but I’ll say it again: I love peppers! I love their vibrant and varied colors, their sweet and delicate flavor, their abundance of vitamins – and the list goes on. Before starting off this website I did not think much about peppers, and I never actually realized how much I used them in dishes on a regular basis. This conscious writing and cooking exercise has made me think about peppers very often, and has helped me learn more about myself and my culinary preferences. This has been an amazing journey of self-knowledge, and I’m thankful for that.

Since peppers were on sale at my local grocery store the other day, I thought it would be a good idea to buy some and to make a recipe which, like my vegetable sauce, is a staple in our household: roast pepper dip.

To make a big batch you will need 3lb of bell peppers. Try to pick peppers of various colors:

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Wash the peppers and dry them with a paper towel. Roast the peppers on the stove top, turning them often, until their skin is black.

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Put the peppers in a bowl and sprinkle some salt on top. Let them cool down:

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At the end of this preliminary step you are ready to proceed to the next stage: making the dip itself.

Ingredients for the dip

3lb bell peppers, which have been roasted, peeled and washed

1 cup sour cream

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1/2 tsp paprika powder or red pepper flakes (optional)

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Put the ingredients in the blender:

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Put the blender on high speed for about 30 seconds. Stop, taste the dip, and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. At this point you can also add the paprika powder or red pepper flakes if you like. To me these are optional ingredients because I like the dip as it is. However, some may find it too sweet. Adding the paprika or red pepper flakes is a way to “tame” the sweetness, to provide an unexpected spicy kick,  and to build another layer of flavor on top of the smokiness of the roast peppers.

Continue blending until the texture is smooth. Transfer the dip from the blender into a bowl, and put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

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Now that the dip is done, it is time to bring more ingredients into the picture, and to make some panini. This is what I had in the fridge, but you can of course improvise:

Ingredients for the panini

2 tbsp roast pepper dip

2 slices bread (can be either white or wheat bread)

1/4lb roast beef

4 slices asiago cheese

5 slices dill pickles, halved

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Preheat the grill to 375F.

Spread a generous layer of roast pepper dip on the bread. Add a layer of roast beef, then 2 slices of cheese. Put the dill pickles on top of the cheese, then add another layer of roast beef. Finish off with the remaining 2 slices of cheese. Grill the panino for 3 minutes. Serve it with extra dip on the side.

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I was happy with how this panino turned out: moist and juicy, it was light thanks to the pickles, which cut through the richness of the meat and also provided an extra dimension of crunch. Moreover, the assertiveness of the asiago cheese counterbalanced the sweetness of the pepper dip and made the entire ensemble stand out.

You can use this dip for your veggies or in panini (as seen above). I also like to pour it over chicken drumsticks prior to roasting them in the oven. The dip gives the chicken a nice golden color and makes it succulent and delicate in flavor. I like the candid simplicity of this sweet and smoky dip – and I hope you’ll like it too. 🙂


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