A couple of years ago, my best friend and I took an impromptu trip to Amsterdam. After a little too much fun and mischief one afternoon, Angela had a sudden hankering for something…saucy. This was no mild, oh-it-would-be-nice-to-have-sauce emotion, but a full-on i-need-sauce-right-freakin-now craving. At the time, I indulged her. Okay, crazy girl, we’ll get you something….saucy…? If my memory serves me correctly, we ended up at some shitty Thai place eating shitty curry (desperate times….), but it did the trick.
I’ve been dealing with cravings of my own lately. I’ve wanted something spicy, akin to a soup, but with more body. Something like a salad dressing, but that could stand more on it’s own.
And deja vu BOOM. For the past three weeks I’ve had a serious craving for something saucy. Angela was really onto something here. Sauce is the key to so many comfort foods…pizza anyone? Lasagna? Mac and cheese?!
This sauce is a very distant relative to the red romesco you may be familiar with…I can hardy even call it romesco anymore! My favorite parts of romesco – the spicy kick and meaty texture – remain. I’ve replaced the traditional almonds with walnuts for an earthy flavor and added a splash of green with spinach. I’ve left out the oil and bread found in traditional romesco to make this a little lighter and more virtuous. I don’t think you’ll miss it – I certainly didn’t.
Girl can’t just eat sauce on it’s own though, cravings or not. I needed a vehicle for my sauce. Asparagus and scallions play nice here, providing crunch and tartness. They’re both good team players, mildly flavored as to not compete with the romesco.
To the saucy things in life! This one’s for you Angela
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch scallions, bottoms chopped off
3/4 cups green romesco (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
On a sheet pan, spread the asparagus and scallions. Roast for about 15 minutes, until the asparagus are tender but still crisp.
Serve the roasted vegetables with a healthy dollop of green romesco.
3 green peppers
1 poblano chili
1/4 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 sprig parsley
1/4 cup spinach
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
Roast the bell peppers and poblano chili until they are completely blackened on the outside. Place them in a paper bag and let them rest for 15 minutes. Peel away the blackened skin and chop the pepper into large chunks.
In a food processor, mix the roasted peppers and chili with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
The romesco can be prepared and refrigerated a couple days in advance. This will make about 2-3 cups of romesco – use it on salads or pastas as well!