Today’s recipe came into play in a very roundabout manner. I had a leftover red bell pepper that needed to be used up before it had a chance to spoil, so I roasted it off in the oven and used it to make a batch of quick romesco sauce for lemony chicken skewers a few days ago. I’ve used this romesco recipe before, and although it may not be particularly authentic, we like how it turns out. My garlic cloves were extra potent this time, so the sauce packed a punch and there was quite a lot leftover. When Jeremy brought home a fillet of wild halibut, I decided to encrust it with ground almonds and serve it over romesco, a variant of a dish I’ve made once before.

The key player on the plate this time, however, was the potatoes. I did a spin on patatas bravas, a popular Spanish tapas item that often calls for frying the potatoes and serving them with a romesco-like sauce. In my version, I boiled cubes of red and purple potatoes in salty water for 5 minutes before draining and tossing them in a mixture of melted chicken fat, smoked Spanish paprika, and pasted garlic (minced and smushed with the flat of the knife, assisted by the grit of a hefty pinch of salt). They roasted for 20-25 minutes in a 400F oven until the outsides were crispy and starting to brown, and the insides were creamy. Easily the best roasted potatoes I have ever made, since usually they start burning on the outside before the insides are fully cooked—I will be using this method for roasted potatoes from here on out.

Speedy Romesco Sauce

1 slice firm white sandwich bread, toasted and torn into chunks
1 roasted red bell pepper
1/3 C almonds
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
dash red pepper flakes
1/3 C chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 T red wine, sherry or balsamic vinegar
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil

Toast the almonds in a small skillet until they begin to brown and smell nutty; be careful not to burn them! Place in a food processor with the bread, roasted red pepper, garlic, broth, vinegar, salt, paprika and pepper flakes until smooth, about 2 minutes, streaming in olive oil last. You can adjust the thickness of the sauce by using more or less broth.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious.

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