Friday, March 19, 2010

Rouille [roo-EE] = Dynamite Veggie Sandwiches, amongst other delicious offerings

Pure deliciousness.  I think that's the best description for this richly-flavored, roasted garlic, roasted pepper rouille.  What the heck is a rouille?  I'll let define:

[roo-EE, roo-YUH]
Literally French for "rust," culinarily rouille is a fiery-flavored, rust-colored sauce of hot chiles, garlic, fresh bread crumbs and olive oil pounded into a paste and often mixed with fish stock. It's served as a garnish with fish and fish stews such as BOUILLABAISSE.
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There you go.  Rust-colored is indeed accurate, as you can see in the picture.  Though, I'd revise the definition slightly for my purposes and call it fantastically-flavored, as my version is less "fiery" (though you could crank up the heat as much as you like) than that definition suggests.  Plus, I amended a recipe I found in the fantastic Sunset magazine a while back (September 2009; original recipe is here), and my version is vegetarian, and also vegan.  (P.S. "Vegan" is not a four letter word.  More on that another day.  Now, onto the rouille.)

Here's the rouille ingredient list*:
(*with thanks to Sunset magazine for the original inspiration)

-- 1 head roasted garlic 
-- 1 jar roasted piquillo peppers, drained (approx. 8 oz. drained) or other roasted red peppers to equal 1 cup
-- 1 cup Vegenaise 
-- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
-- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
-- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
-- freshly ground black pepper
-- optional: 1/8 tsp. hot sauce (or more, if you like it fiery!)

Ingredient notes: 

roasted garlic: super easy, just takes 40-45 minutes to bake.  Cut the top off of a head of garlic so that you can see the tops of the cloves.  Place the garlic on a sheet of foil, or on a baking sheet.  (Note: most recipes tell you to wrap the garlic in foil, probably so it won't dry out, but when I made mine, I had no foil.  So I put it on a small baking sheet and roasted in the toaster oven, and it worked.)  Drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until soft when pressed (and don't burn your fingers off).  If you don't use foil, you may want to re-drizzle with a little oil about halfway through roasting to keep it nice and moist.  Behold, my roasted garlic flower.  Yum.

red peppers: I found a jar of piquillo peppers at Trader Joe's (and they have fire-roasted red peppers too that will work), and they're a bit spicier than regular roasted red peppers, so I omitted the hot sauce that the recipe calls for.  You can also use regular roasted red peppers and add hot sauce (or not, whatever you prefer).  Both jars of piquillo and roasted red peppers are about 10 oz. total weight, and drained about 8 oz. weight (approximately), and conveniently say so on the jar.  Basically, you need a cup (which, as you know, is 8 oz.) of *drained* roasted peppers.  And if it's a less, or a little more, no worries, my friends.  It's just cooking.  Don't feel like you need to buy two jars so that you have exactly 8 oz.  It won't matter for this, so go easy on yourself.  Use whatever you find or make your own.  (And if you're really ambitious and want to make your own peppers, they're absolutely incredible.  I can give you a recipe, so just ask me!  I know you're out there, I can hear you breathing...)

Vegenaise: One word: phenomenal.  Seriously.  I loved this stuff long before I learned that vegan isn't a four letter word.  Vegenaise is a vegan mayonnaise, and it's incredible.  Whether you're a hard-core carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore, you'll love it.  So don't judge.  It's awesome.  Get some.  Where, you ask?  Whole Foods carries it, in the refrigerated section.  There are few different kinds (original, organic, extra omegas, etc.), so pick the one you like.  P.S.  It's not cheap, but it's worth the cost.  Plus, it has no cholesterol since it's egg and dairy free, and has only 0.5 grams of saturated fat per serving.

the rest of the list: this should all be straightforward, but a couple of notes.  First, to make fresh bread crumbs, take a piece of bread or two and cut it in chunks.  What kind of bread?  Whatever you've got; as long as it's not cinnamon raisin bread, it should work.  You'll want a generous handful of bread chunks to make 1/2 cup, but you can save the leftovers for another recipe.  Toss the bread chunks into the Cuisinart, and whirl until they're crumbs.  Easy.  I recommend doing this step first, so that you've got your crumbs and also don't have clean out the bowl before making your rouille.  After you've made the crumbs, pour them out of the Cuisinart bowl to measure to ensure you don't have way too much in there, then put back in 1/2 c. and then dump in the rest of the ingredients for the rouille.

What else?  Lemon juice -- sorry, but you gotta use fresh.  Those plastic lemon things with their fakey juice are horrid, and don't compare.  Steal a lemon off someone's tree if you must, but use fresh lemon juice.  Same for the thyme.  Nothing like fresh thyme for this recipe.  Plus you can be all fancy and Martha Stewart-y with the extra sprigs, and put them on your rouille as I did in my lovely picture.  Okay, I think that's it.

Onto the instructions:

1.  Roast your garlic head.  See directions above.  When it's cool enough that you can hold it without searing off your fingertips, squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves into the Cuisinart.
2.  Add the rest of the ingredients.
3.  Turn on Cuisinart and let it run until everything is incorporated and your rouille is smooth.
4.  Taste the deliciousness you just created!

This recipe makes a good amount (2+ cups), and it's a great thing to have in the fridge to fancy up a yummy veggie sandwich, to use as a dip for fresh vegetables, or to serve as a sauce for a protein (animal or plant).  It's also great on toasted olive bread, as you get the nice saltiness of the olives, with the richness of the sauce.  You could even use it on roasted potatoes, or on pizza, or maybe a cold pasta salad... it's incredibly versatile.  Use that imagination!  Having a party?  Serve a bowl of it alongside your fancy crudite, or spread it crostini and top with a tiny sprig of thyme to be super fancy-pantsy.

Health-Righteous Factor (1-10): Hmm.  I'll give this one a 6.  After all, Vegenaise may be egg and dairy free, but it's not exactly low-fat.  That's why this dish is so creamy and wonderful. But with all that roasted garlic, roasted peppers, and fresh herbs, you've got some good stuff going on in there.  Plus, if helps you to enjoy fresh vegetables, or a fat sandwich smeared with rouille and stuffed with avocado, arugula, cucumbers, bell peppers, grated carrot, etc., etc. then I'd say you can feel pretty darn righteous while your taste buds sing and your body thanks you for all the yummy nutritiousness you're giving it.


1 comment:

  1. Follow-up note: I just added a dollop of Sriracha to make a dipping sauce for oven-roasted potatoes, and it made the rouille sing. Yum!