Alaska Spot Prawns with Mexican Grilled Vegetables and Pasta, by Chef Rick Bayless
COOKING THE PASTA. Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain well. Place in a large bowl. Heat the remaining salsa in a medium saucepan, then add the grilled vegetables; heat through. Toss the mixture with the drained pasta.
SERVING. Divide the pasta among 4 warm dinner plates and place a skewer of spot prawns on the side. Sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.
ROASTED RED PEPPER & GARLIC SALSA
For 2 1/2 cups of Salsa
For 5 cups of Salsa
For 7 1/2 cups
1. HEAT THE BROILER. Pull the stems off the dried chiles, tear them open and shake out the seeds (if you prefer a more refined salsa, be sure to remove all the seeds). Place in a bowl, cover with hot tap water and lay a plate on top to keep them submerged.
2. LAY THE WHOLE TOMATOES on a broiler pan or baking sheet (line it with foil if you wish for easy clean up and juice retrieval). Set as close to the broiler as your oven allows (usually 4 inches from the heat source) and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted and blackened in spots (the tomato skins will split and curl). With a pair of tongs, flip over the tomatoes and roast them for another 6 minutes or so, until they are cooked through (theyll be soft) and darkly splotchy. Set aside to cool.
3. TURN THE OVEN DOWN to 425F. Separate the onion into rings and, on a pan or baking sheet, similar to the one you used for the tomatoes, combine it with the garlic. Set in the oven. Stir carefully every few minutes, until the onions are soft and beautifully roasted (dont worry if some of the edges char) and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes total. (For a wonderfully smoky salsa, the onion and garlic can all be roasted on a perforated grilling pan over a moderately low charcoal fire.) Cool to room temperature.
4. IF YOURE NOT INCLINED TOWARD RUSTING TEXTURES in your salsa (or if youre canning the salsa), pull off the peels from the cooled tomatoes and cut out the coreswhere the stems were attached (catch the flavorful juices on the baking sheet as you work, so as not to waste any of them). By now the chiles should be soft (to get them to the perfect stage of rehydration-before theyve lost much flavor into the water-dont let them soak longer than 30 minutes); drain them. In a blender (you can use a food processor here, but the texture wont be as nice), combine the drained chiles with the tomatoes and their juice. Process to a rather smooth puree-chile skins are tough, so you want to get them chopped up enough. (If youre making the largest quantity, you may have to do this in two batches.) Scrape 2/3 of the puree into a large bowl. Roughly chop the onion-garlic mixture, then add it to the blender and pulse repeatedly until all is moderately finely chopped. Scrape down the sides from time to time to keep everything moving evenly, and if the mixture just wont move through the blades, add a little water to loosen it up. Scrape the puree into the bowl. Stir in the oregano and vinegar, then add enough water to give this salsa a light consistency-these red chile salsas are typically smoother, runnier and more highly seasoned than we tend to make in this country.
5. TASTE AND SEASON highly with salt-this is a condiment, remember. Taste again and add a little sugar if you think its necessary to balance any lingering bitterness in the chiles. If youre planning to use your salsa right away simply pour it into a bowl and its ready, or, refrigerate it and use within 5 days.