Nucular. Irregardless. Conversating.
These are words that keep me up at night. Please, please, please expunge these three non-words* from your vocabulary and instead choose nuclear, regardless (or irrespective), and conversing. You will sound WAY more smarter. 🙂
I am the daughter of a former language teacher, so grammar is kind of my thing. It may have had to do with the fact that I received
40 lashes a scary look every time I said ‘who’ instead of ‘whom,’ but I’m happy my mama done good and taught me right.
If there weren’t three states between us, she would already be giving me those
40 lashes scary looks. Sometimes I just like to mess with her. It’s one of my most endearing qualities.
What prompted this tangent into Vocab 101 is actually related to food. I was listening to Rachael Ray prepare a chicken dish with ‘Romanesco’ sauce, and I had two thoughts. First thought: Rach, it’s Romesco, not Romanesco. I’ll let you blame it on your producers, but you’re on the Food Network- you really should get that right! Second thought: drool!
And so, here we are. Real Romesco sauce with a side of grammar.
Romesco sauce is a delicious Spanish sauce made with peppers, nuts, garlic, stale bread, fruity olive oil, and gobs of smokey paprika. Be still, my beating heart. It’s thick, it’s rich, it has a CRAZY AWESOME flavor, and it has a million and one uses. I frequently spread it on crostini for an appetizer, and it’s also a killer sandwich/panini spread and a dipping sauce for meat. You know how Chez Hound feels about dipping sauces for meat.
Now, let’s talk about said meat, since that was my vehicle of choice for my killer sauce this time around. I’ve been digging kebobs this summer, specifically those made with pork loin. Pork isn’t really my favorite meat, but the big loin cuts so nicely into chunks (with a little streak of fat that just melts in your mouth…), and the mild flavor of pork allows any rub or marinade to shine through. You’re going to want this Spanish-inspired marinade to shine through like this little light of mine, trust me.
For the record, Romanesco is not just a word made up by Rachael Ray- it’s actually a type of broccoli. Ever heard of broccoflower? Sometimes it refers to green cauliflower, but other times broccoflower is a common name for Romanesco broccoli. Exhibit A:
Killer dinner idea and a grammar lesson? Yes, that just happened. It’ll give you something to conversate about with your nucular family around the table tonight, irregardless if they are actually interested.
*Irregardless is, actually, a word in the dictionary, but it is followed by the statement that it is an improper use of the English language. Schooled.
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1 T smoked paprika (hot or sweet, depending on your preference)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Kosher salt
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 points pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Romesco Sauce
- 2 dried ancho, pasilla, Anaheim or any mild-to-medium hot chiles
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 c almonds, toasted (alternatively, use ½ c hazelnuts + ½ c almonds)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (1-ounce) slice of rustic white bread, toasted
- ¼ c red wine vinegar
- 2 T tomato paste
- 4 t smoked paprika (hot or sweet, depending on your preference)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ⅔ c olive oil
- ¼ c hot water
- ½ t Kosher salt
- Prepare the kebabs: Combine cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon zest and juice and 1 t Kosher salt in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and stir to make a paste. Add pork and toss to completely coat. Let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours or refrigerate overnight (my preference).
- Make the Romesco sauce: Place dried chiles in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water; let stand for 20 minutes. Drain the chiles well, remove the stem and any seeds or membranes, and place chiles in a medium bowl.
- Preheat broiler to high. Cut each red bell pepper in half lengthwise, discarding stems, seeds and membranes, and place skin-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil them for about 20 minutes total (maybe less for you- I have a weak broiler) until most of the skin is black but before you set off your smoke alarm. Place the peppers in a zip-top bag and let them rest for about 20 minutes. The longer they rest, the easier the skins are to peel. Peel the peppers and chop them into 2-inch pieces; add them to the chile bowl.
- Add almonds, garlic and bread to a food processor and process for about 1 minute, or until finely ground. Add chile-pepper mixture, vinegar, tomato paste, paprika and red pepper flakes; process another minute until combined. With processor on, slowly pour oil through the food chute and process until well-blended. Add ¼ c hot water and salt, process for about another 10 seconds. Decant desired amount into a serving dish, and refrigerate (up to 2 weeks) or freeze (up to about 2 months) the rest for future use.
- Preheat the grill to high while you skewer the pork to make kebabs. (If you're using wooden skewers, don't forget to soak them in water first.) The pieces of meat can touch each other, but don't squish them all together or they won't cook evenly. Make sure you have cleaned and oiled your grill grate to prevent the kebabs from sticking- you'll be an unhappy camper if you don't. Grill the skewers on all sides so each side gets nice and brown, about 8 minutes total grilling time. Let them rest about 10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with Romesco sauce on the side for dipping.