I've slowly been getting used to cooking for one in my new kitchen. It's definitely been a learning experience! After a few weeks of trials and errors, I was finally brave enough to invite A and her fiance over for dinner. Ever since we had dinner at Jamonera, I've been thinking about the romesco sauce served with their deviled egg dish. A couple of dinner guests gave me a great excuse to try making it myself! I based this meal on Healthy.Delicious.'s recipe for Romesco Roast Salmon, with a few alterations, of course.
This well-balanced meal had four components: a protein, a sauce, a starch, and a veg, so I was lucky A showed up early to lend a helping hand. Before she arrived, I whipped up the romesco sauce- the easiest part of the dish!
2 roasted red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic
handful slivered almonds
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 t red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
The first step is to roast the tomatoes. My new place has an energy efficient halogen oven and I have yet to summon up the courage to try it out (help?!). Instead, I made hatch marks on the top of the tomatoes with the tip of a knife and microwaved them for three minutes along with a clove of garlic.
The tomatoes cooked down perfectly well in the microwave, so I tossed them into the blender along with the rest of the ingredients (hold the olive oil). I felt like this sauce was straight off Sandra Lee's show "Semi-Homemade" since it was so easy.
A quick blend of the components was all it took- I added the oil while the blender was going to help emulsify it. If you like a chunky sauce, it only needs a few pulses- mine came out pretty smooth.
The other reason this recipe really stood out to me was the carb involved: pumpkin grits. I had coarse yellow cornmeal on hand, so I used that instead of true grits. Unfortunately, I didn't follow the directions on the bag to first mix the cornmeal into cold water, then add boiling water. The result was a clumpy mess that required 15 minutes of whisking to make presentable... Oops! The addition of half of a can of pumpkin to the water and cornmeal was easy enough, just had to decrease the water a bit (I used 1 cup grits, 2.5 cups water, 1 cup pumpkin). Note to self: Polar brand pumpkin contains carageenan. Gelatinous pumpkin=not very appetizing.
I have limited burner space, so I sauteed the asparagus first for ten minutes or so- just a little salt, pepper, and olive oil. Thankfully, I got lucky at the grocery store, finding some really tender, skinny asparagus that cooked quickly.
After I transferred the asparagus to a covered plate, I started the salmon. I splurged on perfectly cut fillets from Whole Foods, which made splitting the salmon into portions a non-issue.
|So pretty. So expensive.|
The replacement of oven baking with stovetop cooking meant the sauce wasn't cooked alongside the fish. Next time I'd toss it into a saucepan to heat it up before serving (need extra burners...). Otherwise, the romesco was just the way I remembered it- nutty, garlic-y, with a little acidity from the tomatoes. Overall, a great pairing with the fish. The kalamatas added a needed saltiness to the grits while the pumpkin gave extra creaminess and that fall flavor that everyone seems to love.
I had lots of romesco leftover- it's a really versatile sauce: I've eaten it over eggs for breakfast and as a spread on sandwiches for lunch. Like hummus or pesto, the sauce itself could also be made in many alternative ways- different types of nuts, the addition of olives or beans, various fresh herbs, etc. I'll definitely be making it again!