¾ cup roughly chopped sundried tomatoes
2½ tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
1 large roasted red pepper or ⅔ cup roughly chopped roasted red pepper
⅔ cup roasted pecans
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl stir together the sundried tomatoes and the vinegar. Let that hang a minimum of 15 minutes. You want the tomatoes to plump up with the vinegar. To the bowl of your food processor add the pecans, roasted red peppers, garlic cloves, mint, parsley, paprika, salt, honey, chipotle, and the sundried tomato-vinegar mixture. Process for 10 seconds. Then stream in your olive oil. I like to see a little of the pecans, so I blend the romesco till it’s the texture of chunky peanut butter, but if you prefer a smoother sauce, blend it further.
You can eat this right away, but I prefer to let it mellow in the refrigerator overnight. The romesco will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to one week. This recipe makes 1½ cups.
• • •
Vivian Howard was born in Deep Run, North Carolina, to tobacco and hog farming parents. She learned at a young age to appreciate eating with the seasons. It took many years for her to be convinced that a career in food was feasible. “I moved to New York to become a writer, and through several different career paths, I ended up working in a restaurant as a server,” says Vivian. “Their concept was Southern food with an African influence. I became really interested in the stories behind the food; gaining a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant work inspired me to become a food writer. I found that I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the kitchen. I liked making things with my hands, and it turned out I was good at it. I am probably better at cooking than I ever would have been at writing about food.”
In 2005, Vivian and her husband Ben Knight decided to return to Vivian’s roots and open a farm-to-fork inspired restaurant in the small town of Kinston, North Carolina. The Chef & Farmer is now one of the area’s most beloved restaurants, serving healthy, creative seasonal foods. Today 70% of the food Vivian and her staff prepare comes from 60 miles around the restaurant from local farms and purveyors.
Southern Farm & Garden asked Vivian if she would be willing to share one of her recipes featuring pecans. We are honored that she said yes. Her Pecan Romesco recipe features Elliot pecans from Pearson Farm, located in Fort Valley, Georgia. Thank you, Vivian and the Pearson Family, for contributing this delicious, easy-to-make recipe.
Recipe re-creation & food styling: Vanessa Parker McIntyre
Food photography: Nancy Suttles