This vibrantly hued red pepper and marcona almond dip is a perfect way to start a summer meal. It’s not too heavy, yet it manages to pack a major flavor punch. Spoon it over homemade flatbreads and naan, or dunk roasted potatoes into it. (For those more virtuous than I, it pairs well with an abundance of fresh vegetables.) Any leftovers can be spread onto a sandwich or slathered over grilled meat. The sky is the limit!
Lately I’ve been exploring more foods of the world, and my interest has been with condiments in particular. The number of toppings and spreads out there is truly incredible — some to serve over meats and seafood, and others to pair alongside bread and crudité. I’ve been particularly enamored of the bold flavors of the Mediterranean, especially Spanish cuisine, and I can’t stop coming up with ways to use smoky pimentón, buttery marcona almonds, and tangy piquillo peppers. They are the most delicious ingredients!
Romesco, a nut and red pepper-based sauce originating in Catalonia, has been my entertaining staple for a while now; I’ve made it for more dinner parties this year than I can count. Since I can’t seem to get enough of the classic topping, I decided to incorporate the same taste profile into a hearty first-course dip. This recipe eliminates the traditional tomatoes and bread, but utilizes pantry ingredients I always have on hand, making it an easy go-to for impromptu parties. It looks great with a crudité platter, and it pairs well with anything!
Roasted Red Pepper & Marcona Almond Spread
1 cup marcona almonds (see Recipe Notes)
1 large clove garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, plus more to taste (see Recipe Notes)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) or regular paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Minced Italian parsley, for garnish
Combine the roasted red peppers, marcona almonds, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, tomato paste, and pimentón in a blender or food processor and purée until almost smooth but still thick in texture. Season with salt, pepper, and additional sherry vinegar to taste. Spread can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to 3 months; bring to room temperature before serving.
Serve with grilled or toasted flatbreads, roasted potatoes, and fresh vegetables.
- Sliced almonds can be substituted if you cannot find Marcona almonds.
- Red wine or balsamic vinegar can be substituted for sherry vinegar.