If I had been thinking clearly I might have planned a “blue dish” for our election party like the one my friend Sharon told me about. You know — blue tortilla chips, blueberries, blue potatoes, etc. But since I only had one thing on my mind and it clearly wasn’t the color of food, I came up with a red dish instead. I promise you it is delicious and it never hurts to reach across the aisle, especially when it comes to food.
Last week may have been your last chance to get roasted peppers from Billy’s Organic at the University Farmers Market but you can still find peppers and roast your own. Just stick them on the grill, turning with tongs until the skins are charred and blistered. Immediately put them in a plastic bag for about 10 minutes. Take them out, scrape the black skin off the outside and seeds from the inside. Fire gives peppers a wonderfully smoky flavor. I’ve also heard of using the flame on a gas stove or you can also put them in a hot (400 degree) oven for about 20 minutes.
Combine two local ingredients — roasted red peppers and hazelnuts, along with garlic, red wine vinegar, fresh rosemary, olive oil and you have a Northwest version of the Spanish sauce known as romesco. It can be used along side all kinds of food but is especially good with grilled meat or fish. I’m serving mine with sliced pork tenderloin along with a baguette. Perfect finger food for a celebration served buffet style.
Northwest Romesco Sauce
3 large roasted red bell peppers, seeds and black skin removed
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts*
2 cloves garlic
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T chopped rosemary
1 t sugar
1 t salt
pinch of cayenne
1/2 t smoky paprika
1/2 cup olive oil
Put all the ingredients in a food processor except olive oil. Process until the nuts are finely ground. With the processor going, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Taste for seasoning. Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.
*Almost all of the hazelnuts consumed in the US are grown in Oregon and Washington. We’re lucky to have Holmquist Orchards at University, West Seattle and Pike Place Markets. They grow Duchilly hazelnuts, a sweeter, more thinly skinned variety.
This recipe was inspired by The Herbfarm Cookbook, by Jerry Traunfeld — still a favorite after years of use.