The inspiration for this recipe, a radiant sheet-pan meal that's done in under 40 minutes, is the Spanish sauce romesco. I love the fruity, nutty richness of that sauce, and after making it a few times, I realized it was hearty and nutritious enough to become a meal on its own.
Traditionally made in a mortar and pestle, a classic romesco features roasted garlic, roasted tomatoes, smoked peppers, almonds or hazelnuts, olive oil, sherry vinegar and bits of stale bread. The nuts and bread give it richness and a texture that resembles thick corduroy. Because it's a sauce that's usually served with meat, fish or chicken, its flavor can be quite bold and brash.
To turn it into dinner, I deconstructed it, and mellowed it out a little. Here, the garlic is replaced by chopped red onion, and red and orange bell peppers tag in for the traditional Spanish ñora chiles. These join cherry tomatoes and slabs of creamy feta on a sheet tray with a drizzle of olive oil.
After about half an hour in the oven, the feta turns soft and lightly toasted, the tomatoes slump and share their tangy juices, the peppers become soft and sweet and the nuts get even crunchier. A drizzle of sherry vinegar tames the sweetness, and a generous sprinkle of chopped parsley gives it some pep. Serve it all over thick slices of crusty bread – rubbed with roasted or raw garlic, if you'd like! – to soak up all of those fruity juices and the soft, creamy cheese.