Here’s a great recipe that will wow your friends, is savory, healthy, delicious and you can shop at your local farm stand to purchase all the ingredients. One of the reasons we love this recipe is that the vegetables are roasted, not grilled, so they absorb less oil and the dish is light and clean. Romesco sauce (which dates back to medieval times) is a wonderful type of “pesto” thickened with bread and nuts. Traditionally made with romescu peppers we approximate the flavor with red peppers and a bit of ancho chili pepper. The recipe looks a little strange but follow it to the end and taste the results. We think it’s worth it and that you’ll agree. The mixture of vegetables is similar to ratatouille so we always tell people it’s a Catalan ratatouille!
Esclavida (Grilled Vegetables) with Romesco Sauce
Chef Richard Erickson, Bistro-to-Go
1 large eggplant
3-4 zucchini and/or summer squash
1 large Spanish onion
4 plum tomatoes
2 red & 2 green peppers
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Romesco Sauce (recipe follows)
1. Cut the vegetables into pieces of equal size (approximately 3/4 – 1” cubes). Season with salt and pepper, toss lightly with olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven.
2. Take 1/2 cup Romesco Sauce, 1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk together.
3. Garnish with whole toasted almonds and serve.
4-6 Ancho chiles
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pita or other bread
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 T garlic
1/2 cup tomato, peeled & seeded
1 large roasted pepper
2-3 T Sherry wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 T paprika
2 T tomato paste
1. Cover chiles with boiling water after discarding seeds and stems. Soak until soft.
2. Heat half the oil, add bread. Fry until golden. Remove, add chiles, cook for 2 mintues.
3. In food processor, process almonds, salt and garlic. Add bread, chiles and tomato.
4. Add cayenne, vinegar and rest of olive oil. Grind black pepper and adjust seasoning. Thin with a bit of the ancho liquid but not too much. Should have a smoky and lightly spicy taste, but not be too spicy hot.