All about quality ingredients
Following my last post, here is the next light recipe. It is very popular in Spain, especially in the summer, and a tribute to the excellent fresh produce you can find in the whole country. In this case, the main ingredients should come from Navarra, as the most famous cogollos (romaine hearts) are from Tudela and the piquillo peppers from Lodosa. Thanks to globalization we can find them in places such as Amsterdam; if not, we can replace them with other variety of small lettuce and a sweet type of red pepper. The anchovies (I did not use them this time) are one of the traditional additions to this simple recipe, but you have to make sure they are really good quality, preferably from Cantabria. If not available, better skip them. Last but not least, the pimentón is also Spanish, from La Vera in Extremadura, the extra virgin olive oil comes from Baena and the balsamic vinegar is made with Pedro Ximenez … So lucky to be able to enjoy such fine ingredients in this extremely easy, light dish, full of color, taste and contrast!
4 romaine hearts
4 red peppers (or 1 can of piquillo peppers)
8 garlic cloves
1 tin of Anchovies (optional, I recommend Ortiz)
1 tsp. Pimentón (smoked paprika)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
STEP 1.- Heat up 2 tbsps. olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Wash the peppers, add them to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, until blackened. Turn, lower the heat to minimum and cover. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on. Turn and cook for another 5 minutes, covered. Let cool down, remove skin and seeds, cut in stripes and reserve in the liquid they released while cooling down.
STEP 2.- Discard the outer leaves, trim and cut the hearts of romaine in 4 pieces, longitudinally. Slice the garlic and fry in 2 tbsps. olive oil until slightly browned. Add the peppers, 1 tbsp. of the liquid they released, toss well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the paprika and toss well.
STEP 3.- Place the romaine heart wedges on a serving dish and pour the mix of garlic and peppers on top. Drizzle with some balsamic and place one anchovy on each wedge (optional). Serve while the peppers are warm, with the remaining peppers in the center.
– The anchovies can be replaced with albacore tuna belly (canned).