Spring Crudités with Romesco Sauce
Sarah Copeland, author of the new cookbook Every Day Is Saturday, knows a thing or two about effortlessly beautiful dishes. When she spent the day cooking with us, she taught us that an easy appetizer can do double duty as a stunning centerpiece.
“A true Catalan romesco sauce—with freshly roasted red peppers, garlic, bread crumbs and olive oil—requires a bit of time,” Copeland says. “The good news is that it’s remarkable in flavor and aroma. Once you’ve made it, all you need is a bunch of gloriously fresh vegetables to create a centerpiece for any occasion.”
Why roast the peppers? It gives them a richer, softer quality and brings out their vibrant color. (But don’t worry—if your guests are coming in a few minutes, jarred roasted red peppers will work in a pinch.)
Another tip from Copeland: Make an extra batch of the sauce and keep the leftovers in the fridge for up to five days to spread on sandwiches, serve with seafood and use as a dip for any veggie you love.
PureWow’s Chef in Residence program invites food influencers and tastemakers from all over the world to create new recipes in our New York City test kitchen.
4 roasted red bell peppers, jarred or freshly roasted (see directions)
2 or 3 sweet-hot dried peppers, such as ancho or nyora
2 cups (480 ml) boiling water
1 cup (240 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup (70 g) almonds
3 tablespoons unflavored bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 firm, ripe plum tomato, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 pounds assorted raw and roasted vegetables, such as raw radicchio or Treviso lettuce leaves; young carrots; asparagus; Romanesco broccoli; globe, breakfast or watermelon radishes; snap peas; cucumbers; and cherry or grape tomatoes
1. Roast the Peppers (If Desired): Place the peppers directly over a gas flame, turning with tongs and propping them on the burner grates until they are charred evenly on all sides.
2. Transfer the peppers to a metal or other heatproof bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside to steam, 10 to 15 minutes. Pull away the charred skin with a paper towel and discard.
3. Continue cleaning the peppers, discarding the charred skin and seeds, but preserving the flesh and juices until the peppers are mostly clean. Do not rinse. (Note: The peppers can also be roasted in the oven. Toss the peppers with a drizzle of olive oil, set the broiler to high and broil on a baking sheet, turning as needed with tongs, until evenly charred. Steam the peppers, remove the skin and clean as directed above.)
4. MAKE THE SAUCE: Snap off the stems of the dried peppers, shake out the seeds and place the peppers in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the dried peppers. Cover the bowl and let the peppers soften, about 15 minutes
5. Drain the softened peppers and discard the liquid. Combine the softened peppers, roasted red peppers, olive oil, almonds, bread crumbs, garlic, tomato and sherry vinegar in the bowl of a food processor and process until mostly smooth, about 2 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon salt, season with black pepper and pulse to blend. Taste and then add more salt as needed.
6. ASSEMBLE THE CRUDITÉS: Keep the romesco at room temperature until ready to use, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Serve the romesco slightly warm or at room temperature (never cold or straight from the fridge) with assorted raw vegetables for dipping.