Dinner:  November 13, 2008

Some people dream of dining at the French Laundry, Chez Panisse, or El Bulli, but honestly, I think my dream restaurant dinner would be at Lucques. I mean, Suzanne Goin just gets it, and every main dish or side or sauce that I’ve made, either direct from her book or inspired by it, has been a major hit.

nuts

This Romesco, for instance, almost didn’t make it to our plates because after my first taste of it, I couldn’t stop scooping it out of the food processor by the spoonful. All I could think about this morning was “man, I wish I had some Romesco.” It might have replaced harissa as my latest food crush.

chiles+tomatoes

The rest of the meal was simple: crisp roasted potatoes, some green leaves, sautéed Spanish mackerel filets with a squeeze of lemon juice, but the Romesco was the star. I want to put it on everything. I bet you will, too.

Romesco (adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin)

5 Ancho chiles (we were out, so I substituted Guajillos)
2 T raw almonds
2T blanched hazelnuts (forgot to blanch mine – oops)
1 ¼ c extra virgin olive oil (I didn’t measure. Don’t act like you’re surprised.)
1 slice country bread, about 1 inch thick (I used two slices of Seven Stars multigrain)
1/3 cup canned San Marzano tomatoes
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T chopped flat leaf parsley
½ lemon for juicing (we had more Meyers than regular lemons, so I used one of those)
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375. Soak the chiles in hot water for about 15 minutes, then seed and stem them. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Fry the bread in a bit of the olive oil, then let it cool and cut into cubes. Return the pan to the stove, heat the chiles for about 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes. Cook them until they break down and the juices are reduced, then turn off the heat and set aside.

Pulse the nuts, bread and garlic in a food processor, then add the chile and tomato mixture and pulse again to combine. Pour in more olive oil while the machine is running until you have the texture you want. Taste for seasoning, then stir in the lemon juice and parsley.

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