Monday, April 13, 2009

News to Me

I realize that Romesco Sauce is hardly new on the food scene, and it's one of those things I've been meaning to try for years--maybe even decades. I have no idea why it took me so long to get around to it. Now that I've made my first batch I feel terrible for all the time I've not had this punchy sauce in my life.

I was given the potato assignment for a Passover dinner with friends the other night. Normally I love my potatoes in pretty much any form but I wasn't feeling all that enthusiastic this time around. This may have had something to do with the potato disaster earlier in the week. I'd planned a big pot of simple steamed baby potatoes to serve at our seder. Seder meal planning can be a bit tricky as the pre-meal part can be quite long though we never know exactly how long. This means you want dishes which aren't fussy in terms of timing and heat. I'd thought the steamed potatoes would be a snap but things ran a bit long and next thing I knew people were asking if something was burning. The steaming water had boiled away, leaving my tiny new potatoes well cooked but with a distinctively smoky flavor.

Perhaps it was thoughts of that smokiness that got me thinking about how to mix up my potato assignment just a bit. They had to be simple, of course, for the kids. But a sauce alongside would allow the more adventurous of us to have some fun. Leafing through Martha Stewart's New Classics I came across a recipe for roasted potatoes with Romesco sauce that sounded perfect: smoky and nutty with just a little bite. Also it didn't include the bread which is part of many recipes--something to keep in mind at Passover (and when feeding the gluten-free).

I made only a couple of changes. I used a kosher-for-Passover balsamic vinegar rather than sherry vinegar and even though I had the fresh mint called for in the recipe, I forgot to add it. Once I tasted the delicious sauce I didn't think mint would do anything positive for the overall flavor so I left it out.

The sauce was a huge hit. It perked up the simply roasted baby potatoes nicely. I can't wait to try it on grilled fish or chicken, alongside my basil aioli and a platter of grilled vegetables, and of course once Passover ends, spread on nice, crusty bread.

My version of the recipe is here. Let me know how you use it.

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