Deborah Madison’s newest cookbook, In my kitchen is full of terrific vegetarian (and vegan) recipes. I’ve been a Deborah Madison cooking fan since Vegetarian cooking for everyone, and this book is, in my opinion, a great follow-up.
Sadly, I had never heard of Romesco sauce until this cookbook and a roasted cauliflower recipe calling for it. As Deborah Madison explains in her notes, this sauce is versatile and can be used for everything from roasted potatoes and leeks to garlic rubbed toast. In the years since Deborah first created this recipe, her preparations have changed from using fresh tomatoes and a mix of hazelnuts and almonds.
- 1 slice country-style white bread
- Olive oil to fry the bread
- Sea salt
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off as much as easily possible
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp group red chile OR red pepper flakes
- 1 TBSP tomato paste (or a bit more for tasting adjustment)
- 1 TBSP chopped parsley
- 1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (could use jarred)*
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup best olive oil
- Fry the bread in olive oil until golden and crisp. When cool, grind it with the hazelnuts and garlic in a food processor until fairly fine.
- Add the ground chile (red pepper flakes), tomato paste, parsley, paprika, and bell peppers, and process until smooth.
- With the machine running, gradually pour in the vinegar and then the olive oil.
- Taste and make sure the sauce has plenty of piquancy and enough salt. If you feel it needs a little more tomato paste, add it no more than a teaspoon at a time.
- * Here’s where Amy is telling you not wuss out on the roasted red peppers because roasting them in an oven is a snap. Here’s how: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Now clean and cut the peppers away from the stem and seeds (here’s a video from Serious Eats to show you how). I usually wipe the insides and the skin side with olive oil. Cook skin sides down for 25 minutes. The outsides should have a nice char to it. Cool them and use. Way better than that vinegar-y bottled stuff that passes for roasted red peppers.
While I can make a decent vinaigrette and a passable tahini dressing, I haven’t strayed far from the standards as far as gussy-ing up salads. This, it turns out, has been an error of omission. We eat some form of salad nearly every night, so branching out to new tastes was long overdue.
This dressing comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Thug Kitchen. And, as usual with the Thugs, it is simple, plant-based and is entertaining. It also is really quite tasty – who knew roasted carrots made such a great dressing?!
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (also suggested: rice wine vinegar)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 TBSP orange juice
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Heat up your oven to 357 degrees F. Chop up your carrots into chunks no bigger than 1/2 inch. Toss them together with the oil, cumin, and salt. Roast them in a small pan, covered until the carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Let the carrots cool for a minute then add them to a food processor with the rest of your $***. Blend it until it’s smooth. This could take as long as 3 minutes.
Adapted from: Spitalnick, A. (editor). “This Just In… Bing Cherries”. Vegetarian Times. (Vol.37, No. 6). July/August 2011. p 16.
Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.
My Comment: Growing up in the mid-west, I don’t remember much about Bing cherries; my cheery cherry memory is pitting sour cherries (by the pound) so my Mother could freeze them. Sweet cherries were Queen Annes. I don’t know, maybe there were Bing cherries and I was just not paying attention.
That said, this is the time of year when markets and even our CSA usually have Bing cherries available. I don’t often use dressing on salads; but this was intriguing — the sweetness of ripe red-purple cherries mixed with vinegar and mustard was an enticement on a sweltering summer evening when we just felt like eating a simple salad for supper.
Vegetarian Times did not specify amounts — so I won’t either. Most recipes call for oil to vinegar ratios of 2:1 — I usually do just the opposite (there’s a shock). Add honey to taste and about a tablespoon of mustard (more or less to your personal taste).
Pitted bing cherries (I used about 30)
Almond oil (see note above; I think I used about 2-3 TBSP)
Champagne vinegar (see note above)
mustard (about 2 tsp does the trick)
honey (use agave or other liquid sweetener to make this vegan)