Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta
When I was first dating my wife, she took me home one Thanksgiving to meet her Italian family. I was excited to discover they were serving one of my favorite meals—a traditional Italian feast complete with bruschetta, antipasto and Italian wedding soup as starters, and pasta, meatballs and chicken for the entrees (this was in the days before I went vegetarian). By the time we’d finished the multiple courses, I thought I’d demonstrated a respectful display of my appreciation for all the food, and felt thoroughly stuffed and satisfied. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize we were only getting started. No sooner had the serving plates been cleared, her aunt brought out a traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with sides and then dessert. Somehow I soldiered through the second equally delicious full meal, and later slipped into a coma in front of some holiday fare on television. I still look forward to her family’s feasts each year, but these days I know how to pace myself better. The dish below is where it all starts.
- Preparation Time: 00:20
- Cook Time: 00:07
- Cuisine: Italian
- Servings: 12
- 2 fresh red bell peppers, or (8 oz) jar roasted red peppers, well-drained
- Skinny French baguette bread, about 1/2 of a long loaf
- 1/4 cup blanched almonds
- 3 dashes of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Olive oil
- 1If using jarred peppers, skip ahead to step 6.
- 2To roast fresh peppers, slice in half, de-stem, de-seed and place cut-side down on a non-stick pan or glass baking dish.
- 3Broil the peppers in the oven until the skins char—about 10 minutes, but check often.
- 4Remove from oven, and while still hot, use tongs to place peppers in a large paper or plastic bag. Tie off the end of bag and allow to sit for 10 minutes. After you remove the peppers from the bag, the skins should peel off easily. Set the peppers aside.
- 5Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- 6Slice the baguette into 12 half-inch thick rounds and spread out on a flat baking sheet.
- 7Brush tops lightly with olive oil, then place in oven for about 3 minutes until they just start to toast but not brown.
- 8In a food processor, grind the almonds until fairly fine, then add the peppers, salt, cloves and cinnamon. Chop until peppers are coarse pieces, but not pureed. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a coffee grinder for the almonds, and a knife to hand-chop the peppers into fine pieces.)
- 9Add a few drops of olive oil to the mixture if you roasted your own (probably not needed if peppers are packed in oil).
- 10Spread a tablespoon of the mixture onto each baguette slice. Cook in oven for 5-7 minutes or until edges of bread just start to crisp.