Saturday, August 23, 2008

Romesco Sauce

Salsa Romesco is an incredibly flavorful sauce that comes from Catalonia in Spain. I had it for the first time when we were in Barcelona, and I have not been able to forget it. Now when I eat at Spanish restaurants, I just have to order something that comes with this sauce. Then this week, I realized that it probably isn't hard to make, so why don't I make it at home?!

So, I made it for some friends who came over to play music with DH, and everyone loved it so much, I made it again, so that I could remember to photograph it. I am finding it is great on so many things: various vegetables, especially green beans and mushrooms, potatoes, bread, cheese and even hard-boiled eggs.

I looked at many recipes on the Internet, and then combined them to form this recipe using ingredients that I can find easily in Florida. I am sure I will experiment more with it. But, this is a great start.

Salsa Romesco

1 28oz can of Organic Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
1 small head of garlic, roasted then peeled*
1 chile ancho (stem and seeds removed), soaked in piping hot water for at least 10 minutes to soften
1/4 cup hazelnuts, peeled**
1/4 cup almonds, peeled**
1 large slice of rustic bread, toasted and crushed into large crumbs
salt and pepper
olive oil (approximately 1/2 cup)
optional: a dash of wine vinegar

Toast the nuts in a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium hot frying pan until they are golden and fragrant, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove and set aside. In the same hot pan, add a bit more oil if needed and fry the bread crumbs with the roasted garlic for a couple of minutes, until golden and fragrant.

Place the nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Do not blend to the point where they become a paste. Add the fried bread, the softened chile ancho (cut coarsely into pieces), the garlic, and the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn on the blender or food processor, slowly pouring the olive oil through the opening in the lid while it is blending. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a dash of wine vinegar for extra tang, if desired.

This sauce gets even more flavorful after a day in the refrigerator.

*To see how to roast a whole head of garlic, check out this post on my friend Madelyn's blog, Karma-Free Cooking. Or to roast it on top of the stove, break the head into cloves. Then place the unpeeled cloves of garlic on a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and turn them every couple of minutes until the peels get black and the garlic gets very soft.

**To see how to peel almonds and hazelnuts, check out this post on my friend Madelyn's blog, Karma-Free Cooking.


J-fer Rose said...

I just got home from seeing the new Woody Allen movie. It takes place in Barcelona. I enjoyed the movie and watching it, I craved a visit there. And so this post is very timely. I'm glad I have a recipe I can try so that I can taste a little piece of Barcelona!

ColorJoy LynnH said...

Drat, I can't have nuts. Even if I sub cracker crumbs for bread and onions for garlic, this will not taste right without a half cup of nuts. Sounds wonderful!

Kathleen said...

Lynn, I make a delicious salsa that uses onion and tomatoes and olive oil. It's a Mexican salsa, rather than Spanish. So, it's certainly a different sauce than this one, but it is still very flavorful. If you need to use onion instead of garlic, still roast it until it is very soft and golden. Then dice it and add it to the tomatoes, olive oil, and whichever other of this recipe's ingredients you are able to eat. The onion takes on a bold yet sweet flavor when it is roasted, which is exactly what happens to garlic when it is roasted. As for the nuts, pine nuts could be substituted and they are not actually nuts (they are seeds), so i don't know if you can eat them or not. You wouldn't need a whole half cup, I'd start with a quarter cup of toasted pine nuts.

Ana said...

Oh, sounds good your sauce! I like the texture it shows in the picture, makes me really want to try some!
Interesting the combination of almonds and hazelnuts, the recipe I have for romesco uses only almonds. I like both nuts, so maybe I will try your version, plus, how can you go wrong with nuts, tomatoes and roasted garlic... I really want to try this one!

Jess said...

Great blog! Just found you this evening while searching for Beluga Lentils. I'm going to try this sauce, it sounds awesome!