Friday, July 11, 2014

Roasted Poblano Romesco Sauce

This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken and grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm, handcrafted vegan hazelnut cheese from Avellana Creamery, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Blueberries (make a blueberry buckle)
Lots of tomatoes (Romas and red, yellow, and orange slicers) 
Eggplants (try grilled in Middle Eastern or Asian spreads)
Bell peppers, jalapeños, anaheim and poblano chile peppers (make this romesco sauce)
Artichokes, baby beets, new potatoes, and broccoli
Carrots, summer squash, and cucumbers
Chard, collard greens, and kale (try this quinoa, kale, and beet salad)
Garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix
Cherries and Blenheim apricots (from Washington)

Preserves, Beans, and Grains
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill

Sweetwater Farm's peppers are reaching their peak at this point in the summer. Poblanos are particularly delicious roasted, so I decided to use them in a twist on a traditional red pepper romesco sauce.

Many romesco recipes incorporate stale bread as a thickener, but Freshwater's dainty cauliflower clusters inspired me to use these as a bread substitute, roasted alongside the poblanos in cast iron skillets under the broiler.

The roasting brought out the peppers' sweetness, toasted almonds and olive oil gave the sauce richness, and lemon juice and a splash of sherry vinegar made it sharp and bright.

This sauce is as versatile as pesto and could be used on pasta (I might combine it with grilled vegetables and feta cheese), on grilled meat, or in sandwiches. We enjoyed it slathered on my latest attempt at the Bread 101 class' final exam (this Chad Robertson recipe), which proved to be the perfect nourishing fare for summer travels. 

Roasted Poblano Romesco Sauce

1/2 cup whole almonds
2 large or 3 medium poblano peppers
1 small cauliflower head
3 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 tsp sherry vinegar
salt to taste

1. Turn on your broiler, and as it's warming up, quickly toast the almonds in a dry cast iron skillet, being careful not to scorch them (or to be safe, toast them in the skillet on the stove top). Transfer them to a food processor or blender. 

2. Rinse the poblanos and place them into the hot skillet. Roast them under the broiler, turning every couple of minutes until the skin is brown and blistered on all sides. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with a plate to steam. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the blistered skin, core and seed them, and transfer them to the food processor.

3. Rinse the cauliflower and cut into small florets. Toss the florets with a Tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt in a hot skillet (either the one used for the poblanos once they are done, or a second one). Roast under the broiler, shaking every couple of minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked through and browned around the edges. Transfer to the food processor.

4. To the food processor, add the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, lemon zest and juice, sherry vinegar, and a generous pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Taste and add more olive oil, lemon, vinegar, or salt as needed. Use as a spread on bread, a sauce for grilled meats, or mix into pasta. Can be kept refrigerated for several days.

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