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Red Pepper Paste
(Massa de Pimentao - Portugal)

This paste is used as a dry marinade for a wide variety of meats and poultry. It is usually rubbed on the meat prior to roasting. Though the Portuguese do not use it in this manner, it also makes a wonderful savory spread for toast and crackers, a delicious sauce for pasta, and an excellent dip for raw vegetables.

Recipe Ingredients

8 to 10 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, andcut into strips about 1 inch wide

3 tablespoons kosher or coarse salt

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Place a layer of pepper strips in the bottom of a bowl about 8 inches wide. Sprinkle with some of the salt and repeat, forming 7 or 8 layers. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours.

Drain off the accumulated liquid. Place the uncovered bowl in a 250 degree F oven and roast for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

Peel and discard the skin from the peppers. Combine the peppers, garlic, and about 1/4 cup of the oil in an electric blender or food processor. Process until the paste is smooth, scraping down the sides of the container as needed. With the processor running, add the remaining oil in a thin stream until the paste is light and the consistency of whipped butter. Transfer to a jar with a tightly fitting lid and refrigerate. Use as needed, allowing the paste to come to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


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