We begin the third season of the Illuminati Ball this weekend! If you have not already attended, you can find information here. We only have three shows this year, so if you want to come buy a ticket now! Here are some photos from last season, taken by the marvelous Mark Shelby Perry…
For this year’s ball, I’m adding some new dishes to our Decadent Eight Course Vegan Tasting Menu, including this beautiful plate of Wine Poached Vegetables served with Romesco Sauce.
If you’re making this dish at home, don’t worry about the composed plating. Just arrange the poached vegetables on a platter and pass the sauce in pitcher so that folks can serve themselves. All of the unusually colored vegetables are lovely, but not at all crucial. There is also seared spring onion (or scallion, or ramps) that belongs on this plate, although it did not make it into this photo shoot. Grilled spring onion with Romesco sauce is actually the traditional Spanish dish. All of these lovely wine poached vegetables are my addition for a more substantial and colorful plate. The onions add richness and crunch, so don’t skip them!
WINE POACHED VEGETABLES SERVED WITH ROMESCO SAUCE
For the Romesco Sauce
- 2 large roasted red bell peppers (stem, seeds and most of the charred skin removed. You can find directions for roasting peppers here)
- 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
- 1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
- 1 small ripe tomato, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine everything in a blender and process it until it has a consistency that you like. I like mine with a bit of texture. Set aside at room temperature.
For the Poaching Liquid
- 2 1/2 cups dry white wine (save the rest of the bottle to top off your poaching liquid when it starts to run low)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (I use Aleppo pepper)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups of water
Combine everything in a tall pot and bring to a boil while you prep the vegetables.
For the Vegetables
- 10 purple fingerlings potatoes or 2 larger purple potatoes or some other kind of potato that you like), scrubbed and halved if large
- 1 fennel bulb trimmed and halved
- 1 small head of purple cauliflower, broken in to large florets (white cauliflower is fine too)
- 1 bunch of asperagus, ends snapped
- 1 bunch of brocollini, leaves trimmed and ends snapped
- 1 scallions, spring onion or ramp for each guest, washed, roots trimmed and set aside in damp towel for later
- oil for the pan
- Maldone salt (or some other kind of finishing salt)
- Drop the potatoes into the poaching liquid for 8 minutes or until tender. Fish them out and set them aside.
- Drop the fennel halves into the poaching liquid for 4 or 5 minutes or until the core is just tender. Fish them out and set them aside.
- Drop the large cauliflower florets into the poaching liquid for 5 to 8 minutes or until just tender. Fish them out and set them aside.
- Drop the asparagus, tips up, into the poaching liquid for 3-4 minutes then fish them out and place in freezer briefly to stop the cooking.
- Drop the Brocollini, tips up , for 3-4 minutes then fish them out and place in the freezer briefly to stop the cooking.
- Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise if small and into slices if large, lengthwise with a well oiled knife
- Cut the fennel in half again and then carefully slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
- Break the cauliflower into smaller florets.
- Just before serving heat some oil in a wide frying pan until almost smoking. Lay the scallions or ramps in the hot oil in a single layer and sear until they are golden on one side. Flip and cook the other side until they are tender and flecked with golden brown.
- Arrange the vegetables on a platter and pass the sauce in pitcher so that folks can serve themselves.
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