26 September 2009

The Goodness of Vinegar

In the mid 1990's, Random House did a series "The goodness Of..., which featured a collections of small cookbooks each dealing with "the goodness of" a particular ingredients: grains, nuts and seeds, olive oil, potatoes and root vegetables and vinegar.

I am afraid that I am a sucker for these little "series" type of endeavors, though no one can hold a candle to the English when compiling tiny books of recipes. John Midgley was in charge of the series, which features lovely watercolors by Ian Sidaway and all in all they are pretty and good, though lacking in a lot of recipes. The Goodness of Vinegar gives a brief history and outlines the different types of vinegars. As one might expect, there are a few salad dressings

This recipe is a big winner.

Crema Piccante

2 sweet red peppers
8-12 medium-hot dried red chilies
2 fresh or canned tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs water
generous pinch of oregano
sprig of thyme
3 sprigs basil
olive oil

Remove the cap, pith and seeds of the peppers. Put the flesh into an enamelled pan together with all the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil. Bring to the boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent bottom from burning.
Allow the mixture to cool. Transfer to a food processor and process to a smooth paste., adding 3 tablespoons olive oil while continuing to blend. When cooled, spoon the crema into a sterilized jar, cover with a thin layer of oil and seal tightly. Once opened, use up the sauce within a week.

This is a great little sauce. You can use it for a spicy spaghetti sauce or add it to a spaghetti sauce for a bit of a kick. It goes really well with cooked greens. Use it in lieu of mayo on a veggie sandwich.

If this recipe was on one of those cooking shows where vinegar was the featured ingredient, critics would say that this sauce doesn't feature vinegar that prominently, but I am not a judge, so try this tangy sauce.

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