Well, after yesterday’s somewhat melancholy post, I thought I needed something uplifting. I pulled out some frozen salmon fillets I’d bought on special a few weeks ago. Planning to broil them, I thought they might look pretty naked on the plate. And I didn’t want to go the regular dill route, especially cause the family hates the cucumber dill sauce that I love. So it was time for a little change.
Instead I whipped up a roasted pepper sauce. No suffering over the roasted peppers, although my grandmother’s way does taste best (blacken them in an open flame on a gas stove, put them in a paper bag to sweat, then rub of the blackened skin with finger, seed and de-rib, and sprinkle with salt and olive oil and refrigerate until ready to use). Those are great when I get a rare time alone and eat them with warm Italian bread – nothing else.
Instead of all that work, I open a jar of roasted red peppers. Pastene is my favorite brand because instead of living on their laurels, they have actually improved the quality over the last two years. I get this in the international or the Italian food section. I’m always read the label carefully to be sure they are just roasted peppers and not vinegar peppers, great, but not for these recipes.
This recipe calls for smoked paprika. It has a deep smoky flavor which is very comparable to chipotle powder. I use them interchangeably, so if I have one and not the other on the spice shelf, it’s an easy substitution.
So, here below is my roasted pepper sauce. Delicious over grilled or broiled salmon, the recipe can be altered slightly to be used as a dip for vegetables or crackers. It also makes a spectacular salad dressing.
To turn the recipe below into a dip: add one more pepper and take out the tomato paste. To turn it into a salad dressing: go down to 1 pepper and 1 garlic clove, skip the mayo and tomato paste; add more olive oil and lemon juice until the consistency looks like it will toss with greens and vegetables.
ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE
Makes about 1 cup
I gently boil the garlic cloves for 2 to 3 minutes to turn the volume down on its sharp flavor.
2 to 3 roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon tomato paste
a pinch, or more to taste, smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lemon juice, if needed
1. Dry the roasted peppers on paper towels until no water from rinsing remains.
2. Pulse all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. If more liquid is needed to smooth the mixture, use a teaspoon of lemon juice: it will keep the color and flavors bright. Season with salt and pepper to taste.