Broccoli Salad with Hazelnut Romesco Sauce

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My husband and I fell in love with romesco sauce in Barcelona. We ate it several times with grilled ramps. I have been meaning to make it for years but it has just never happened! My husband spotted this recipe in the New York Times and I was excited to finally make it. It was very timely as well because we had just received long red peppers and Roma tomatoes in our CSA share AND we had just brought home fabulous Long Island broccoli from the farm stand.

The sauce is DELICIOUS!! The recipe makes enough sauce for this dish with plenty of leftovers. According to the recipe, it can keep in the fridge for at least a week. We are excited to eat the extra sauce over potatoes, green beans, or grilled tuna. It could also be served with shrimp or lobster. This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. GREAT!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 medium red bell peppers, halved and cored (or long red peppers)
  • 1 plum tomato, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup toasted, peeled hazelnuts, more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or 1 teaspoon honey, more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • 2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
  1. Toast the hazelnuts in a 425 degree oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Peel.
  2. Heat the broiler. Arrange an oven rack in the position closest to flame. Place peppers (cut side down), tomato halves (cut-side up) and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until peppers and garlic are slightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn garlic (but do not turn peppers or tomato); broil 1 to 2 minutes longer until garlic is well browned but not burned. Transfer garlic to a large bowl. Continue broiling peppers and tomatoes until both are well charred, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer tomato and peppers to the bowl with the garlic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand until vegetables are cool enough to handle but still warm, then peel peppers and tomatoes.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse hazelnuts until coarsely ground. Add peppers, tomato, garlic, breadcrumbs, oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, paprika and salt. Purée until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Scrape romesco into a bowl.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Boil broccoli until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to ice water; drain.
  5. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with enough romesco to coat vegetables well. (Reserve any remaining romesco for dipping or for another use.) Garnish with hazelnuts, if desired, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Catalan Tomato Bread

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This is the most simple appetizer- I remember eating it at every restaurant in Barcelona. I served it with the toppings already on the bread. Another option is to serve the grilled bread with a clove of garlic, half of a tomato, olive oil and salt on the side. This recipe was adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen.

Serves: 8

  • 4 fresh, very ripe tomatoes cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 8 slices country-style bread, cut 1/2 inch thick
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high.
  2. Arrange the bread slices on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
  3. Rub each bread slice with cut garlic followed by cut tomato. Discard the tomato skin.
  4. Drizzle each slice with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.

Escalivada or Grilled Vegetable Salad with Parsley Vinaigrette

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This is a Catalan grilled vegetable salad. We ate it with Spanish grilled pork kebabs and Catalan tomato bread. It contains 3 different types of onions- yellow, leeks, & scallions- it smelled so good! After the vegetables are grilled, they are sliced and piled separately in rows on a serving plate- a lovely presentation. The vinaigrette is drizzled over the top. We ate this as a side dish but it would also be nice as a topping for grilled bread. This recipe was adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen.

Serves: 4 to 6 as a side dish

For the vegetables:

  • 1 large onion (I used a Vidalia)
  • 1 large or 2 small long, slender eggplants (about 1 pound) (I used Asian eggplant)
  • 1 bunch leeks (the smallest, tenderest you can find)
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 medium red bell peppers (I used 1 orange and 1 yellow)
  • 4 medium ribs celery
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 2 T sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • 3 T finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges, for serving, if desired
  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Peel the onion, leaving the root end intact, then cut through the root into 6 or 8 wedges. Cut the eggplant on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Trim the leeks of the dark greens and roots, leaving only the white portion, then cut lengthwise in half and rinse well. Blot the leeks dry with paper towels. Trim the roots off the scallions. Brush the vegetables generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. When ready to cook, arrange the vegetables, including the bell peppers and celery, on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned, about 12 minutes in all. (We put the eggplant and Vidalia onion in a grill basket.) Transfer the vegetables as they are done to a cutting board to cool.      IMG_4260
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut the roots off the onion wedges and thinly slice the onions crosswise. Cut the eggplant slices into 1/4-inch slivers. Scrape any burnt skin off the peppers (if desired), then stem, seed, and thinly slice. Cut the leeks, scallions, and celery into thin crosswise slices. Arrange the vegetable slices in separate piles on plates or a platter.
  5. Prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar, salt, parsley, pepper, and olive oil in a mini-food processor. Add additional salt to taste. Spoon the vinaigrette over the vegetables and serve with lemon wedges.

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