Want vegan, gluten-free, all-grilled dinner fare? New to the grilling scene? Read me!
I love romesco. It’s that simple. I’ve blabbed about this love once on this blog already, but I thought I’d expand on that slightly with some critical advice, not only how to make it, but how to make it via a backyard gas-free mini-Weber.
First, romesco is the meat. It has handfuls of nuts and coupled with so many veggies, this savory sauce really does the trick. Traditionally, this Spanish/Mediterranean sauce is served with fish or chicken, but again, if you’re trying to dodge animals on occasion, but don’t want to bulk up on rice or other gluten-like entrees, go with this. And when the weather’s awesome and you have the option to grill – take it.
Second, I’m the dishwasher of the house, which means I have a keen awareness regarding how many dishes things take to prepare. I also adore cooking; put these two things together and I am insanely frugal at using multiple pots and pans to create a meal. This meal is the gold standard of marrying everything great together: vegan, simple, low-energy, low-dish quota and delicious.
1) Cut the peppers into quarters.
2) Prepare your additional veggies for the grill. Tonight, I did sweet onions, portobella mushrooms, summer squash and sweet corn. I’ve done corn on the grill a few times and can now say keeping the husks on is preferred. Epicurious instructs to do otherwise and to put the corn directly on the hot grate; however, my informal Twitter poll suggested keeping the husks on. It keeps the corn from drying out. Other grill-friendly veggies are: zucchini, fennel, leeks and eggplant.
3) Squeeze some lemon, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt over everything.
4) Head outside to the Weber.
5) Now for the grill talk. There are many ways to grill food, via a gas grill, charcoal grill, or charcoal grill with gas covered all over it. I definitely enjoy doing this without petroleum – ugh – the thought of using gas kind of grosses me out; however, it’s a lot more challenging. You have to get the briquettes super hot and doing that pretty much requires a chimney starter. Without that, man, good luck. Once you pile in the newspaper to the bottom chamber of the chimney, light it, you’re well on your way. A quick note on the amount of charcoal – use a lot. It shrinks down quickly. This little puppy gets your coals all nice and hot. This process takes a while – about 15 minutes – and if there’s nothing flammable near by, you can take this opportunity to continue on dinner prep indoors.
6) Load up your blender or processor with romesco ingredients. Regarding the nuts: I’ve used almonds, hazelnuts and cashews and all of those are great. Cashews are probably the house favorite. Almonds are more traditional and I’d imagine pecans would work alright too. Experiment to see which kind you prefer.
7) Gee is for grill. By now the coals are probably ready. You want them slightly gray on the top. Make sure the top grill rack is removed and pour them into the Weber. Make sure the bottom holes are open; the more air you can give them the better. Give them a minute or two to settle before putting the grate on top. Once you do, give that a moment to get hot. Now you’re ready to pile on the goods. Place the peppers skin side down – you really want the skin blackened. Now just hurry up and wait. It will take the peppers about 15 minutes, depending on how hot your coals are, to blacken.
8) Once the peppers are done, you’re really on the home stretch. All that is left is to blend up the sauce.