Before I go revealing recipe secrets from my 30th,* let me say that last night’s dinner was nice and simple and a wee bit elegeant, even. I was ravenous after meeting up with a friend for a drink, and armed with a baguette, some farmers’ market greens, and party leftovers, I composed a lovely meal for one. I sautéed some of the “mystery greens” Maria spoke of–a blend, I think, of mizuna and mustard greens–in olive oil very quickly. In the same pan, I heated some more olive oil and fried an egg on high heat. I slathered some fig jam on a baguette, laid on some prosciutto, topped it with the fried egg and another slice of baguette. There was some pavé sauvage with even more baguette slices, and the rest of a jar of cornichons, my secret favorite food of all time.
Now, on to the romesco. I first tasted this sauce on my first trip to Barcelona, a little over four years ago. I devoured it with calçots, a variety of scallion native to northern Spain. Even though I know it would go perfectly well on potatoes, any grilled vegetable, hard-boiled eggs, or toasted bread, I’m pretty tied to putting this sauce on green stalk-y vegetables like scallions or asparagus. After testing a four or five recipes, this one is closest to what I remember tasting in Barcelona. There’s a lot of fussing with roasting things ahead of time, but it’s worth it.
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
1 slice country-style white bread
olive oil for frying
1/4 c almonds, roasted
1/4 c hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
3 garlic cloves
1 to 2 tsps ground red chile or red pepper flakes to taste
4 Roma tomatoes
1 T parsley leaves
s + p
1 tsp sweet paprika, though I’ve been known to use smoked Spanish paprika
1 red bell pepper, roasted
1/4 c sherry vinegar
1/2 c olive oil, preferably Spanish
First you want to roast the almonds and hazlenuts for about 15 minutes in a 300F oven. Then turn up the heat to about 450F and roast the pepper. I like to stack the peppers and cover them in foil, let them sit for a good 15 minutes or so–makes getting the skins off easier.
Fry the bread in a little olive oil until golden and crisp. When cool, grind the bread, nuts, garlic, and chile in a food processor. Add everything but the vinegar and oil and process until smooth. With the machine running, gradually pour in the vinegar, then the oil. Taste and make sure the sauce has plenty of piquancy and enough salt.
*Spring roll recipe to come!