Cheese-and-Roasted-Pepper Spread on Toasts

With the Winter Olympics in full swing, there’s plenty of opportunity to have people over to watch the games and, of course, you’ll need some food to help keep up your strength. Cheese and bread goes together as well as a luger atop their sled, but if you step it up a notch you’ll get high mark from the judges—and this spread is rather gold colored.

Recipe developer, chef and cookbook author Bruce Aidells, frequent Real Food contributor, suggests you can make this addictive cheesy spread at least a day or two ahead so the flavors have a chance to intermingle and mellow. If you want to add a little color to your presentation, arrange some cut carrot sticks, red bell pepper strips, and fennel strips on a platter for guests to use to dig into the cheese spread alongside the toasts.

Cheese-and-Roasted-Pepper Spread on Toasts

Serves 8–10

2 baguettes, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
Olive oil
½ c. jarred fire-roasted red bell pepper, drained
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ c. finely chopped green onion (green part only)
2 tsp. chopped capers
4 tsp. Spanish paprika (Pimentòn Vera)
1 c. full-fat ricotta
2/3 c. cream cheese
½ c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce, a few drops or more to taste
Kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place bread on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn and brush the other side with oil. Bake 5 to 10 minutes more or until edges are lightly brown. Set toasts aside.

Place red pepper, garlic, green onions, capers, and paprika in a food processor bowl and pulse several times to form a smooth mixture. Add cheeses, olive oil, black pepper, and Tabasco and pulse several more times until the mixture is homogenous. Taste, and add salt and Tabasco, if needed. Scrape cheese spread into a small bowl just large enough to hold spread. Cover and chill for at least a couple of hours or up to three days to firm the mixture and let the flavors mingle. Serve with the toasts and vegetables (see head note).

Nutrition info (per serving) Cheese and Roasted Pepper Spread on Toasts: CALORIES 265 (146 from fat); FAT 17g (sat. 7g); CHOL 33mg; SODIUM 396mg; CARB 20g; FIBER 1g; PROTEIN 10g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.