Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Romesco! That's fun to say!

Finally, the weather has turned slightly warm. After 2 (yes two) snowstorms in April, we have finally been cut a break here in Maine. As soon as the temperature reached about 40 people were out in shorts and t-shirts. I wasn’t that brave, but I have put away my socks and shoes and will heretofore be only wearing sandals or sockless flats.
Don’t get me wrong, as of this morning our backyard was still half covered under snow. So it’s not that warm, but when you’ve had winter for over 5 months, you take what you can get. In fact, we (more like I) were so eager for spring that we started garden box #1 this weekend. It may be a bit early, but I couldn’t hold out any longer. Since I only used half of my seeds from last year, we are planting a lot of the same things; radishes, beets, and lettuce in this box. As an added bonus I had about 6 tiny little leek plants survive the winter, despite my best efforts, so those too have been transplanted into the garden box. But the really exciting news this year is that we have planted fava beans! (I will spare you the weird Hannibal Lector slurping noise – oops, you probably heard it in your head anyways) So hopefully, if the seed packet is accurate, in 50-85 days I will have a fava bean story to tell you.
For now though, we are left with co-op and grocery store produce. Which is by no means bad, and since the weather is so pleasant, we have taken our cooking outdoors. From the numerous posts last year about food prepared on the grill, it’s safe to assume that I was excited to fire it up again this year. After a first round of burgers, we decided to try something different. So we scoured the grilling cookbooks in my collection and landed on romesco sauce.
Romesco is a Spanish sauce that is usually served with grilled fish, meats or even pasta. It’s made mostly from red peppers and almonds which makes for a nice texture and flavor. We grilled all of the vegetables for this sauce, and then blended it in the food processor. The sauce by itself is actually vegan, so if you want to spoon it onto grilled portabellas or tofu – go for it.

Grilled Romesco Sauce
As adapted from 30 Minute Vegetarian Grilling
This recipe makes a lot, so freeze leftovers or serve it later in the week over pasta.

3 red peppers, whole
3 medium vine ripe tomatoes, whole
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, halved and skin removed
1 small red chili pepper (such as fresno)
½ c raw almonds
½ c dry bread crumbs (more if necessary)
Olive oil for thinning
Salt and pepper to taste

Toast almonds in a 350° oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and very fragrant, set aside.

Skewer the peeled onion halves, garlic cloves and chili pepper. Place skewer as well as the peppers and tomatoes on the grill and cook until vegetables are tender. The pepper skins should be blackened and the tomato skins should be peeling off.

Remove skins from peppers and tomatoes, and place into a food processor. Chop root off of the onion and add with the garlic and cooled almonds to the food processor. Pulse to combine, while drizzling in olive oil. If sauce is too watery, pulse in bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over grilled seafood or other vegetables.

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