Recipe A Day #25: Easy Red Pepper and Hazelnut Spread

This is an interesting, nuanced and rich-tasting spread that--with a little bit of practice--you can put together in just a few minutes. It's adapted from one of my go-to cookbooks for easy recipes, a cookbook we've seen repeatedly in this month's Recipe A Day trial: Jules Clancy's brilliant Five Ingredients Ten Minutes.

And to really wow your guests with delicious spreads and dips, consider pairing this electric orange spread with a striking-looking batch of Easy Beet Pesto and yet another batch of Laura's Secret Hummus!

Easy Red Pepper and Hazelnut Spread

7-8 ounces chopped hazelnuts (about 200g)
7-8 ounces roasted red peppers, well drained (about 200g)
2 garlic cloves
about 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
about 2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
about 4-5 Tablespoons olive oil, to taste/texture

1) Place nuts, roasted red peppers, garlic cloves, paprika and vinegar in a food processor and combine well.

2) Add olive oil and salt gradually, until the spread reaches your desired taste and texture. Serve with carrots, celery, crackers and other vegetables of your choice.

Serves 6 as an appetizer.

Recipe Notes:
1) This is a dense, rich and thick dip. Even after you add four or five tablespoons of olive oil, it will still be relatively dense, with a mortar-like texture. I wish I could come up with a more appetizing word than "mortar," but here at CK we seek exactitude in our descriptive terminology.

2) Substitutions: Feel free to use walnuts or even pecans in place of hazelnuts. Note that a typical US grocery store will carry chopped walnuts and chopped hazelnuts right next to each other in the baking aisle. Typically pecans will be the most expensive, while walnuts and hazelnuts should cost roughly the same. Often the "chopped" versions of these nuts are less expensive than the whole nuts, so there's no need to pay extra for whole nuts--you're just going to pulverize these puppies anyway.

3) Nut allergies: If you have any enemies with severe nut allergies, this would be a great appetizer to serve them.

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