Inspired by a Spanish Romesco sauce, the slightly smoky, pleasntly hot spread for these crostini is rich with garlic-sauteed almonds and roasted red pepper puree.
- 1 baguette, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 3/4 cup natural (unblanched) almonds
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the baguette slices on a large baking sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Cool on a rack.
Turn the oven to broil. With the peppers standing stem end up, cut off four flat lengthwise panels from each pepper. Place the pepper panels skin side up on a broiler pan and broil 4 inches from the heat for 10 minutes, or until the skin is charred. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and, when they're cool enough to handle, peel them.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until beginning to color slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the almonds and cook until they begin to darken, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor.
Add the roasted peppers, tomato paste, paprika, salt, and cayenne and pulse until still slightly chunky. Spread the mixture on the crostini to serve.
Use the roasted red pepper spread as a pasta sauce: Cook 8 ounces of pasta and toss with the red pepper spread and a splash of cream.
Stuff 1 tablespoon of the red pepper spread under the skin of chicken breasts before roasting or baking.
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