By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Media Services
December 17, 2012
On my latest book tour, I stayed at the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco, which is just a crosswalk away from the famed Ferry Building, a food-lover's paradise. If you are going to San Francisco, it is worth staying there to immerse yourself in the local food scene.
You can taste coffee, fruit, pastry, roasted chickens, spices, oysters ... the list could go on forever. Plan your trip around the Saturday morning outdoor market -- there is nothing like sitting on a bench by the Oakland Bay Bridge, eating breakfast and talking food politics with the locals.
I always try to find out what's cooking with the local chefs, and was thrilled to discover chef Kory Stewart at Americano Restaurant. There is a vibrant bar scene in the front of the restaurant, and behind a curtain there is a small dining room turning out some sensational dishes. One dish I couldn't stop thinking about was bruschetta with shrimp and romesco sauce. It is a sublimely simple recipe, perfect for the home cook.
Bruschetta is thick-sliced bread, grilled and scented with garlic, usually drizzled with fruity olive oil. While we usually think of this dish as topped with tomatoes, actually it is a blank canvas for other savory ingredients. Here the bread is topped with a roasted pepper, garlic and almond sauce that beautifully complements the sweetness of the shrimp. Any leftover sauce is also wonderful as a dip for vegetables or a finishing sauce on any grilled fish, chicken or meat.
Shrimp bruschetta with romesco sauce
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
1 pound peeled, deveined medium shrimp
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 French or sourdough baguette, sliced in half horizontally, cut into 4-inch long slices
1 clove fresh garlic, sliced in half
Romesco sauce, see recipe
Finely chopped parsley
1 Cook the shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until just cooked; season with salt and pepper. Alternately, grill the shrimp on skewers over medium-high heat. Cool and slice the shrimp in half.
2 Brush bread slices liberally with olive oil. Toast on a grill pan, griddle, grill or under the broiler until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat; rub cut side all over with the cut sides of the garlic.
3 Liberally spread bread with romesco sauce; arrange a few shrimp on top. Garnish with parsley.
In a blender combine 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded; 3 tablespoons marcona almonds; 1 slice white bread, crusts removed, cut into small pieces; 2 cloves garlic; and 1 teaspoon pimiento de la vera dulce (dried red pepper), or paprika; blend until pureed. With the motor running, slowly add 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; blend until the mixture is emulsified. Add 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste (and a little water if too thick). Taste for seasoning. Makes: about 1 1/2 cups
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