Pecan and hazelnut loaf with sweet pepper sauce

Simon Rimmers recipe for nut loaf

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • For the loaf
    150g/5¼oz fresh white bread, crusts removed, cut into cubes
    50g/2oz white breadcrumbs
    1 medium free-range egg
    150ml/5fl oz whole milk
    25g/1oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    200g/7oz chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
    1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp dried basil
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    1 onion, finely chopped
    2 small celery sticks, finely chopped
    large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    100g/3½oz whole blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
    350g/12¼oz pecans, roughly chopped
    75g/2½oz parmesan cheese, or vegetarian parmesan-style grating cheese, finely grated
    1 lemon, zest only
    1 large carrot, grated
    1 large onion, sliced and caramelised
    1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
    1 medium free-range egg white, lightly beaten
    melted butter and polenta, to line the tin
    For the sweet pepper sauce
    3 tbsp olive oil
    3 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
    3 yellow peppers, deseeded and chopped
    2 tbsp white wine vinegar
    3 tsp sugar
    salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. For the loaf, place the cubed bread and breadcrumbs into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and milk together, pour over the bread and set aside for 15 minutes to soften, then mash really well with a fork.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened. Cool slightly, then add the mashed bread, along with the mustard, dried herbs, paprika, nutmeg, onion, celery and parsley. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
  3. Add the hazelnuts, pecans, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, grated carrot, caramelised onion, Tabasco and egg white and gently fold in. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for at least two hours, or ideally overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Brush a 20 x 13cm/8 x 5in loaf tin with the melted butter and dust with some polenta. Tap out any excess.
  5. Spoon in the nut loaf mixture, pressing it in firmly and smoothing the surface with a spatula or palette knife. Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Set the cooked loaf aside to rest for five minutes, before turning out on to a board.
  6. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then place into a blender with the white wine vinegar and sugar and blend to a smooth consistency. Pass through a fine sieve into a small saucepan and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat if necessary.
  7. Slice the loaf thickly and divide between six serving plates. Spoon the sweet pepper sauce over the nut loaf and serve