Here's a little secret: when you're in a restaurant, and you see something described as 'fire roasted,' it doesn't necessarily mean that it's been roasted over a fire. Normally it means that whatever roasted item you're about to order also happens to have a little kick to it, and these days that kick is most often provided by some kind of chipotle variation, be that sauce or pepper chunks. So when I tell you I'm all about the fire roasted tomato sauce, don't think for a moment that I roasted the tomatoes over fire. I roasted them in the oven, just like you will, and the fire comes from regular old Louisiana Hot Sauce. Though adding some chipotle might provide an inviting smokiness...
Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Four tomatoes, halved--we're fortunate here in Florida. The tomatoes have are now in season and will be fresh and delicious for another month or two. After that, it'll be back to the regular hothouse varieties
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- two garlic cloves (or more, to taste)
- Plenty of hot sauce (your personal favorite will be fine--you'll end up adding one shake, or many, depending on how hot you like it)
Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. The salt will draw some of the water and sugars out of the tomatoes and provide for better caramelization. Preheat your broiler on low, if you have that option. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a cookie or baking sheet and place them on the second rack from the top (if your broiler is permanently set to 'scorching,' you might want to place the tomatoes on a lower rack. Let the tomatoes roast for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until you notice they're developing black spots across the top and their skins are beginning to get dry and a little wrinkled. Transfer the tomatoes with the additional ingredients to a blender and give them several good pulses on Liquefy (Note: Be very careful blending hot items! The aeration will generate a great deal of steam, which will create pressure inside the blender. Ever couple of pulses, crack the lid to let off some steam)
Grilled chicken breasts and red leaf lettuce salad with blue cheese dressing.
- Prepare the chicken breasts by trimming off any excess fat
- Brush lightly with olive oil and rub with crushed garlic cloves
- Season with salt and pepper and move to a hot grill
- Grill on each side four approximately four minutes
- You want to get a good, smoky crust, and some charring is desirable. If the chicken begins to get too done, however, move it away from direct heat and let it cook until it's done through on the inside--perhaps an additional two to three minutes.
Plate the chicken and serve with red leaf lettuce Make sure you rip the red leaf lettuce as cutting or slicing often bruises the edges. Drizzle the chicken with the roasted pepper sauce and drizzle the red red leaf lettuce with the blue cheese dressing. The combination of the cool blue cheese and fiery tomato sauce provides a wonderful culinary contrast. Hott!
What to pair it with?
This dish isn't going to stand up to heavier wines, so Shiraz and Cab Sauv are right out. You could probably pair it with a fine merlot, but really any low-acidity wine is going to do right by this dish. Ideally, you might go with a rich, buttery chardonnay. The strong body and supple mouth feel will do well with the tomatoes' acidity. I went with the Cono Sur Pinot Noir and was not disappointed. From the vintner:
OF A LIVELY AND FRESH PURPLE RED COLOUR, THIS IS A VOLUPTUOUS PINOT NOIR WITH RICH FRUIT NOTES OF CHERRY, RASPBERRY, PLUM AND STRAWBERRY -A RED FRUIT PARTY!- ENHANCED BY SUBTLE SMOKED HINTS. OTHER NOTES ADD FLOWERS -VIOLETS- AND A SUBDUED EARTHINESS. BALANCED AND NEW WORLD STYLED, THIS IS A WINE OF PERSONALITY AND ELEGANCE. SEXY, PURE AND SIMPLE, IT SHOWS GREAT VARIETAL CHARACTER IN A YOUNG AND REFRESHING APPROACH.
This is definitely a young wine with a popping, refreshing acidity and fruit-forward nose and palate. While I would have enjoyed a slightly deeper flavor to accompany the chicken--and a little less acidity, given the tomato-based sauce--the wine did well in complementing both the chicken and the blue cheese dressing.