Friday, August 10, 2012

Graham's Gluten Free Fridays: Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


I love sauce. I'm a sauce addict. I have an entire cookbook dedicated to the art of sauce-making, and whenever I'm at an Italian restaurant, I find myself skipping over entrees that don't include the words "smothered in cream sauce that will likely give you a heart attack."

What, your restaurant menus don't use that phrase? Hmm. You're missing out.

I love a good sauce. Why? Because it's a fancy little trick. I could give you a plate like the one above. Grilled chicken and white rice. It's a total snoozefest. But pour on a little (or in my case, quite a bit) fancy-schmancy sauce, and it's a restaurant-quality meal. It's perfect for company, or for wowing your friends and neighbors.

I found this meal in my Everyday Food cookbook, and this was a meal that I ignored for nearly a year. Despite the striking photograph and ease of execution, I ignored it. A few weeks ago, I was flipping through cookbooks looking for meal inspiration, and there it was. Like a light shining down from Heaven, there it was. I made it that night, and slopped up every last bit of that sauce. It's not too heavy, and not too spicy. Instead, there's a nice slow burn from the sauce that sneaks up on you, but it's not overly intense. And, because today ends in "Friday", this is another GF addition to our monthly rotation. The sauce takes six simple and relatively unassuming ingredients and really makes them shine.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
(Adapted from Everyday Food)

2 gloves garlic, unpeeled
2 red bell peppers, halved, stemmed, and seeded
1 T. red- or white-wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil
3-4 T. water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook garlic, either by grilling wrapped tightly in tinfoil for 15 minutes, or in the oven at 350* F. for 30 mins. Set aside to cool.

Cook your red peppers. Either grill them skin-side-down for 10 mins until charred, or pop them under the broiler for a few minutes. Put the peppers in a zip-top bag to catch the steam (so you can easily peel off the skins) or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for 5 minutes. To free the garlic, just peel off the skin and squeeze out the cloves.

In a blender, combine the garlic with the peeled red peppers, vinegar, olive oil, and 3 T. water. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Go lighter on the pepper if you're the kind who dislikes heat of any kind.) Blend well--really blend the heck out of it, because you want the mixture to truly emulsify--and add the remaining tablespoon of water if you need to thin the sauce.

Pour over your entree and serve warm.

Notes:

  • I served this with chicken breasts and white rice. This would be just as fabby over pasta or white fish (halibut or tilapia).
  • You could make this spicier by adding some red pepper flakes or leaving in the seeds and ribs. I chose to take them out so I could control the level of heat in the sauce. If it's too spicy, add a touch of sugar to counterbalance.
  • Check your labels. My vinegar was GF, but we have a bottle of white vinegar that is NOT GF. That could be a pretty critical error if you're not paying attention.

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