The Big Dipper and sauvignon blanc match

Capsicums ready for The Big Dipper. (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

Once a year, when capsicum prices bottom out (which means they’re at their freshest best) I make the Big Dipper, a kick-ass mix of red capsicum, cashew nuts, garlic and olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. This heady, spicy mixture does for sauvignon blanc what spinach did for Popeye.

It partners up nicely with any Marlborough sauvignon blanc, although I find that wines from cooler subregions make the best match.

Capsicums are currently NZD $5 for ten of the plumpest, crunchiest most fragrant fruits (yes, they are a fruit) you are likely to find at any other time of the year.

I’m not sure who christened it The Big Dipper but it is a family tradition going back at least a couple of decades.

The big bonus is that it is quick and easy to make. The only fiddly bit is roasting and peeling the capsicums. That’s my job. I do it on my Weber barbecue.

The Big Dipper is cheap, quick to make and is highly addictive. One dip is never enough.

It partners up nicely with any Marlborough sauvignon blanc, although I find that wines from cooler subregions such as the Awatere Valley make the best match. The acidity in the wine contrasts nicely with the olive oil in the Big Dipper, while the slightly spicy capsicum flavour helps to amplify any hint of capsicum character in the wine.

The Big Dipper

  • 3 x large red capsicums charred and peeled
  • 1 x clove of garlic sliced
  • ½ cup raw cashew nuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Put all ingredients in a Nutrabullet or blender. Blitz until smooth. Serve with toasted pita bread or (even better) Sardinian parchment crackers (from Sabatto, Auckland).

It’s fine to alter ingredients to suit your taste.


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