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Grilled Bread with Cheddar-Red Pepper Spread

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Grilled Bread with Cheddar-Red Pepper Spread

Source: Cooking.com

Serves 6

This zippy spread is inspired by the classic sandwich filling known as pimiento cheese. Pecans and green onions add texture to the easy, do-ahead concoction, which is at its best spread on crisp, smoky ovals of grill-toasted bread.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

For Spread:

1 large red bell pepper

6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes, room temperature

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/2 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped

3 green onions, white and pale green parts thinly sliced

For Bread:

20 1/4-inch-thick oval slices baguette-style bread

1/3 cup olive oil

RECIPE METHOD

FOR SPREAD: In the open flame of a gas burner or under a preheated broiler, roast the pepper, turning it occasionally, until the peel is lightly but evenly charred. Steam the pepper in a closed paper bag until cool. Rub away the burned peel, stem and core the pepper, and roughly chop it.

In a food processor, combine the roasted pepper, cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper sauce. Process, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the workbowl, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the pecans and green onions. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight for best flavor. The spread can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Return to room temperature and pack the cheese mixture into a small serving crock.

FOR BREAD: Light a charcoal fire and let it burn down to medium-hot or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Position the rack about 6 inches above the heat source. Spray oil on both sides of each bread slice. When the grill is ready, lay the bread slices on the rack. Cover and grill until bread slices are lightly browned around the edges but not hard, about 2 minutes per side.

TO SERVE: Transfer the bread slices to a basket or platter and serve immediately, accompanied by the cheese spread.

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