02 February 2014

Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

No, there's nothing wrong with your eyes.  You're seeing red, and that red is a relish.  The pickle corporations do not have a copyright on this name, meaning it can still be applied to any spreadable and flavorful concoction regardless of color.  Any chopped vegetable or fruit can become a relish, including sun-dried tomatoes.  And this spread is so delicious, it's honestly borderline inappropriate.  So please allow me to expand your color horizons and introduce you to the relish we're smearing on pretty much everything coming out of our kitchen nowadays.

This recipe started out as an attempt to make sun-dried a tomato vinaigrette one lazy Saturday afternoon.  However, the attempt that was quickly thwarted when I discovered that we were so low on olive oil, a vinaigrette was an impossibility.  Less stubborn individuals would have thrown up their hands, run to the store and bought more oil (or would that be more?  hmmm....)  But as the hubs and I had already ventured to two markets that morning, I was not in the mood to duke it out yet again with the weekend masses.  And since we live on a budget, there was no way all of the tomatoes and garlic already combined in my food processor were going to be thrown out.  So I decided to just give it a whirl (pun intended) and see what happened......

I am so happy we were out of oil, because the result was truly inspiring.  For every attempted recipe that goes horribly awry, there are happy accidents such as this that make it all worth it.  On their own, sun-dried tomatoes pack a powerful punch of flavor.  When combined with fresh garlic, pepper and a touch of vinegar, the taste was elevated to a whole new level.  It's like Chuck Norris round-house kick to the taste buds, and that man can kick.

Rather than the thin vinaigrette originally envisioned, the end result was thick and spreadable.  The chewy sun-dried tomatoes retained a bit of their texture after blending, creating lovely little flecks in a brilliant red spread.  The hubs took one look and promptly dubbed it a relish, and thus the dish was named.

This spread is absolutely phenomenal.  It has the pungent, concentrated flavor or dried tomatoes with a kiss of garlic, vinegar and rich olive oil.  I love adding a few red chili flakes along with the black pepper for an extra little kick, but if you aren't bit on spicy food you could absolutely leave them out.  It's wonderful on top of salmon, tossed into pasta or simply spread on toast.  Currently our favorite combination is with a little cream cheese on whole wheat bread...yum.

Give your green relish a break and go with red.  It's going to be hot dog season soon enough...

Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

  • 1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend together, pushing down with a rubber spatula as necessary, until ingredients are very finely chopped and have formed a thick spread.  Store in a glass jar  in the refrigerator for up to a month.  Serve on toast with cream cheese, crackers with gorgonzola, over the top of salmon or stirred into hot pasta.  

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