Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

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Ingredients

5 dried chile, of the rich-yet-not-too-spicy variety, like anchos (I used the last of my Basque choriceros for this batch)
~1/2 cup olive oil, divided
8 cloves garlic, peeled and thickly sliced
1/3 cup mixed almonds and hazelnuts
1 slice crusty bread/baguette
1/2 cup tomato puree (or a slightly larger amount of grated fresh tomatoes)
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
splash red wine
salt to taste

Directions

Place the dried chiles in a small bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let sit to rehydrate while you prepare the rest of the romesco, turning or pressing them down to make sure they are all submerged.

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over a medium heat in a skillet. Add the garlic, and saute, lowering the heat as needed so they brown evenly, until they are a dark golden, ~15 minutes. Transfer the garlic from the skillet to a food processor.

Add the nuts to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, until they darken and become fragrant. Add to the garlic in the food processor.

Place the bread in pan, and toast until golden on each side. Add to the food processor.

Add the tomato puree to the pan (be careful of spitting!), and cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens considerably and the oil separates out, ~7 minutes. Transfer to the food processor.

Drain the chiles, remove the stems and seeds and add them to the mixture, along with the vinegar, wine, and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Process until it is reduced to nubby-yet-relatively-smooth puree. Add more olive oil if needed (I sometimes will add a bit of water to adjust the consistency, which I'm sure the Europeans would scoff at, but I can't be quite that heavy-handed with the olive oil). Add salt to taste, and add more wine or vinegar if needed to bring out the flavors. Serve with grilled leeks, eggs, asparagus, or whatever else you desire.