From: Minka’s Kitchen
- I use bottled roasted red peppers but you could roast fresh peppers from scratch.
- When I first wrote this recipe, I was buying 12 ounce jars of roasted red peppers. Now I can only find 8 ounce jars....maybe I need to create a smaller sized recipe. Besides, sometimes this reicpe is too big.
Makes about 3 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium to large carrots
¼ cup fresh thyme (or about ½ teaspoon theyme but it's not quite as good)
1 medium onion (red, white, or yellow), coarsely chopped
2 large or 3 medium garlic cloves, sliced
12 ounces (1½ – 2 cups) roasted red peppers
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves (stripped from the stems)
1-2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (optional)
½ cup capers, drained
- Peel carrots and cut into large chunks. If they are thick, cut them lengthwise also. This will assure even cooking. If you are in a hurry, dice the carrots so they cook faster.
- In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots and cook until they begin to cook through, about 10 minutes. You can cover the pan to speed things. The cooking time will vary with the size of the carrot pieces. Do not brown the carrots.
- When the carrots are almost cooked, add the onion and cook slowly until the onion begins to caramelize. Just before you take it off the heat, add the garlic. You want the garlic to soften and caramelize – but not burn or develop any bitter flavors.
- Rinse and drain the red peppers. Remove any black areas.
- In a blender or food processor, blend the red peppers with the carrot mixture.
- Add the thyme and blend again.
- Add the capers and blend very briefly. If you blend it too long, the color of the tapenade will become muddy.
- This recipe has no salt because the capers are salty. If you think it needs salt, remember that salt will increase the heat from the cayenne pepper. Add the salt before the cayenne.
- A squeeze of lemon or lime juice is optional; it will brighten the flavors. It will also make the cayenne seem hotter. Add the juice before the cayenne.
- Add cayenne to taste. I like ¼ teaspoon or more but I suggest you start with less especially if you do not like spicy food. Add small amounts, mix well, taste as you go. Allow the heat to develop in the bowl (and also, in your mouth) before you add more cayenne. If you add the pepper too fast, the heat will get ahead of you.
- Chill before serving.