If there was one type of cuisine I I could eat everyday and not get sick of it, it would be Mediterranean without question. I love all the different flavors and spices from cumin and paprika to roasted red peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Then there’s the warm homemade pita bread and hummus drizzled with olive oil and spices and freshly fried falafel. I’m actually drooling a little just writing this. So, I’ve decided to do a series of Mediterranean inspired recipes to pay homage to my favorite cuisine of all time, this being the first. I’ve always loved roasted red peppers and like to have them around to toss on a salad or a cracker with cheese for a snack. A few years ago I watched a cooking show that demonstrated how to roast them yourself, and it changed my red pepper life forever. Roasting them is super easy and can definitely be more cost effective, but its also totally fine to use store bought peppers for this recipe if thats what you have. It’s very important to note that you’ll need to find authentic Greek or Bulgarian Feta that comes in block form submerged in a brine, not the pre-crumbled kind. It won’t puree right and the texture will be totally off. You should be able to find this at Whole Foods or any other store carrying specialty cheeses. I love to serve this as a dip with warm pita or crackers, or even with artichokes. This recipe is also super delicious used as a spread on a wrap or gyro, so feel free to try play around with it!
Ingredients (serves 6, active cook time 12 minutes, total time 20)
2 large roasted red peppers (about 2 cups once pureed)
3/4 cup cubed feta cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp roasted garlic olive oil (plain olive oil is fine too)
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp salt
Wash and roast the peppers. There’s a couple ways you can do this: on a grill, an open flame of a gas burner on your stovetop, or in the oven. I used the grill because it’s summer and I’m fully embracing the spirit of grilling, but use what ever method makes the most sense for you. If you’re going to use the oven, roast them for about 25 minutes at 450, turning them a couple times throughout to make sure all sides are a little blistered. If you’re using a gas stovetop or the grill you’ll want to place the peppers directly on the open flame or the grill grates and roast over med-high heat for about 3 minutes on all sides, until the skin is blackened and blistered.
Remove peppers from heat and place in a bowl covered with saran wrap, ziplock bag or a tupperware container for about 10 minutes to cool.
Once cooled gently pull the blistered skin off the peppers and discard the seeds and stems. Place two peppers and half the feta into the food processor and pulse about 10-15 times to combine. Add the rest of the feta, pine nuts, olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt into the food processor, puree until smooth and serve.