Easy Red Pepper Relish with Sun-Dried Tomatoes (a variation of Ajvar/Zacuscă)

Relishes or spreads are an amazing creation I think…they make simple bread taste wonderful or can help you polish off a plate of fresh carrot/cucumber sticks (a wonderful idea for a canapé menu too)!! So here is a simple recipe for a red pepper relish, but I must confess that it was inspired by the Romanian relish called Zacuscă.  The first time I had it was when my Romanian friend, Gabi’s mother sent her numerous bottles of freshly made and bottled batch of Zacuscă. Traditionally it is made by roasting tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, onions and sometimes aubergine (the Turkish version Ajvar usually has it) and then everything is cooked on slow fire for 2-3 hours till the veggies are reduced to a pulpy mash. In cold countries like Romania such preserves are made in summer for the winter time when it is difficult to get fresh vegetables.  My relish isn’t this complicated, but I can assure you it does taste satisfyingly divine!!

Red Pepper and Sun-dried Tomatoes Relish

Red Pepper and Sun-dried Tomatoes Relish

Red Pepper Relish

3 Red/Yellow Peppers (you can also use an aubergine)

3 large cloves of Garlic

2 Tbsp of Chopped Parsley

2 Tbsp of Sundried Tomatoes

Lemon Juice, Salt and Red Chilli Flakes to taste

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On a medium gas flame, roast the whole peppers one by one. If you don’t have a gas flame, grill them in the oven. When they are roasted and soft, put them in a plastic bag for about 5-7 mins to make them sweat…in this way you get the charred skin off easily! Add the peeled garlic, parsley, red chilli flakes, salt and sun-dried tomatoes. Blend well. Check for seasoning and add lemon juice to make it more tangy. Serve with some freshly baked bread or use it to spice up your sandwiches and burgers!!!


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