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Richard Sax is the author of several books, including Classic Home Desserts. He contributes regularly to many national publications including Gourmet, Eating Well, and Food & Wine.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper Dips, Romesco Style
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Based on Romesco, the traditional Catalan sauce of hot nyora peppers and ground almonds, this simple dip, when made with two colors of peppers, is truly beguiling. We've cut the olive oil and nuts, which are also high in fat, hack to a fraction of the original. You can also make this with half almonds, half hazelnuts.
2red bell peppers
2yellow bell peppers
8garlic cloves, thin skins left on
12 whole unblanched almonds, toasted
1teaspoon sherry or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the broiler rack about 2 inches from the flame and heat the broiler.
2. Place a large sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Arrange the peppers in the center and surround with the garlic cloves. Broil the peppers, turning frequently, until the peppers and garlic are evenly charred, about 15 minutes. Remove from the broiler and wrap up the peppers and garlic in the foil; let stand until cool enough to handle.
3. Keeping the red and yellow peppers separated and working over the foil to catch the juices, remove the charred skins, seeds, and stems from the peppers. Cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces and reserve the 2 colors of peppers separately. Strain the pepper juices and reserve. Peel the skins from the garlic and trim off the hard stem ends. Coarsely chop the garlic and add half to the red peppers and half to the yellow.
4. Chop six of the toasted almonds in the food processor. Add the reserved yellow peppers and garlic, 1 tablespoon of the reserved pepper juices, and 1/2 teaspoon of the vinegar. Process until pureed. With the motor running, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a slow stream until puree is smooth. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Transfer to a small bowl.
5. Rinse out and dry the food processor. Repeat with the red peppers and garlic, the remaining almonds, 1 tablespoon of the reserved pepper juices, the remaining vinegar, and the remaining olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Transfer to another small bowl.
6. To serve, select a shallow serving bowl and scrape the red pepper puree into half of the bowl. Scrape the yellow pepper puree into the other half Shake the bowl gently so that the purees meet in the center.
Tomato-steamed Seafood Stew over Green Linguine
Makes 4 servings
This zesty seafood stew is lavish but low in calories. It works equally well as the centerpiece of a dinner party or a meal for family or friends. You can prepare the tomato base mixture in advance. Then at serving time, all you have to do is rebeat the sauce and drop in the seafood while the pasta cooks. In keeping with Italian tradition, cheese is not served with seafood sauces.
Ingedients1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, oregano, red pepper, bay leaf, orange zest, and water, tossing to coat. Cover and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to wilt, 3 or 4 minutes. Uncover and saute, tossing, for 3 minutes longer.
2. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Rinse out the can with a little water and add that. Cook, breaking up the tomatoes, for about 8 minutes. Add the clam juice and simmer until the sauce has thickened lightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and orange peel. (The recipe can be prepared in advance to this point.)3. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and add salt. Return the tomato mixture to a simmer, if necessary. Boil the pasta just until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, place the clams in the simmering tomato mixture and cover tightly. Simmer gently, adjusting the heat if necessary, for about 3 minutes, or until the shells are just beginning to open. Stir in the chunks of fish and shrimp. Cover tightly and simmer until the fish is just opaque and the clams have opened, 4 or 5 minutes. Timing may vary; do not overcook.
4. Turn off the heat. Add the parsley, basil, a few drops of lemon juice, pepper, and a little salt, if needed. When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, leaving it slightly moist. Arrange the pasta in 4 shallow bowls. Spoon the seafood stew over the pasta, using tongs to arrange the pieces quickly and attractively. Garnish with basil or parsley sprigs and serve immediately. Pass a pepper mill at the table.
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