Saturday, November 22, 2008

Anchovy Bell Pepper Spread

If you are going to host an early afternoon cocktail or wine event, it is a wise idea to include finger food, nibbles, appetizers to accompany the alcohol. We keep the event rather small and have only 6 to 8 guests. I like to have a cheese and cracker plate with wedges of Brie, Smoked Gouda and various types of spreadable or sliced cheeses. Sliced fruit: like pears or apples to go with the cheese. Perhaps some salami or prosciutto. Bowls of olives of different types, garlic stuffed are very popular, pimento, blue cheese, Kalamata and your basic black olives. Pickled asparagus spears. All available from your local grocer and require nothing more than slicing and arranging on serving plates.

Small tartlets of mushrooms or mini quiches baked in those tiny muffin pans can be prepared early in the day and reheated in the oven.

Dips and spreads are nice to have for dipping fresh crunchy veggies and spreading onto sliced baguettes. Here is a tasty spread that is one of my favorites.
Anchovy Bell Pepper Spread

2 large red bell peppers
2 oz can of anchovies with olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Char the bell peppers over a gas flame or on the barbeque turning until blackened on all sides. Place in a paper bag and let stand for about 10 minutes. Peel and seed the peppers and coarsely chop.

Place peppers, anchovies and oil ,onion , parsley and vinegar in a food processor and process until the onion is finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in small serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow flavors to mellow.

Serve with baguette slices and/or cucumber rounds.

TIP: If you don't have the time or access to fresh red bell peppers, you can also buy roasted red bell peppers in jars. Just be sure to drain well and blott off as much of the oil as you can or esle your spread will be less spreadable and more like a thick soup. I highly recommend doing the bell peppers yourself. While I'm taking the time to roast a mere two peppers, I go ahead and make more roasted peppers than I need for just this recipe and slice or chop the remainder, place them in olive oil and refrigerate for a few days to use in other recipes during the week.

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