This is my new favorite casual party appetizer. I’ve been on a roasted red pepper kick lately, so when I saw this recipe last month I knew I had to have it. I brought it to my nephew’s first birthday party last weekend and it was a hit – I was actually kind of sad that I had to share it with everyone.
I was even more sad when there were no leftovers to take home with me.
My sister makes a delicious spinach dip, and before Saturday, that was always my make-ahead pot-luck contribution, but I think it has some serious competition now. This is a baked, three cheese dip with roasted red peppers, scallions, cilantro and jalapenos. It is a little spicy, but you can easily control that by completely removing the white ribs and seeds of the jalapenos and eliminating the the red pepper flakes – or, if you want it SUPER spicy, add more of those ingredients. Your call.
The awesome thing about this particular dip is that it can be assembled completely in advance and popped in the oven right before your guests arrive. It’s best served hot and bubbly, but I promise you that it didn’t stop people from devouring it even after it had cooled to room temperature.
You can roast your own red pepper, but I’ve made it a couple of times now and I actually preferred the jarred red peppers to the fresh-charred version. I should also note that you should always grate your own cheese for dishes like this – the melted texture is far superior to the bagged, grated cheese.
You will notice some oil at the top of the dip right when it comes out of the oven – not much but depending on the quality of cheese you use, it will be there. I just dabbed it up with a paper towel, much like I do with my pizza grease. Or you can just ignore it…that works too.