Ricotta and romesco sandwich
I love a sandwich. Why are they so often relegated to lunchtime? As far as I am concerned, they are a meal as worthy of fanfare as any other. In its basic form, a sandwich takes little skill – and that’s the joy of it. A careful selection of ingredients that are ordinary on their own turn into something wonderful when flanked by a couple of slices of good bread.
Makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices of sourdough bread
A couple of handfuls of green leaves and your preferred herbs
For the sauce
150g blanched almonds
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying
2 slices good, stale white bread (about 40g), torn into chunks
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
220g jar of roasted red peppers, drained
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 small dried chilli, crumbled, or a pinch of dried chilli flakes
Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. First, make your romesco sauce. Scatter the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a pan and fry the bread until golden brown all over. Add the garlic and smoked paprika and cook for a further minute, then take off the heat.
Transfer the almonds and toasted bread to a food processor. Add the peppers and blitz until you have a coarse paste – don’t get carried away, you want some texture.
Tip the whole lot into a mixing bowl, stir in the extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar and chilli. Mix well, then season to taste. Romesco is about a balance of punchy flavours, and it will mellow and meld as you leave it to sit. Too thick? Add a little water. Too sweet? Add a little vinegar. Too sharp? Add a little oil.
When you are ready to eat your sandwiches, lightly toast the bread. Spread the ricotta thickly on two slices and the romesco generously on the other two. Slice the avocado, put it on top of the romesco, then put the ricotta bread on top to sandwich the lot.
Heat a dry frying pan until medium hot and toast the sandwiches on each side for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat, then quickly fill with your salad leaves and herbs, and eat.
Ways to use romesco
As a dip for baby carrots and spring veg.
As a marinade for barbecued veg.
Piled on to roasted veg for extra flavour.
Tossed through cooked noodles with pan-fried greens.
Stirred into a bowl of brown rice and topped with a poached egg.
As an accompaniment to your morning eggs.
With flatbread and feta for a quick simple lunch.
Spooned on top of a bowl of soup.