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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce, a pungent combination of roasted red pepper, garlic, nuts, and chile flakes, is a delicious accompaniment to grilled meats or poultry, fish, or even as a dip for veggies or crackers. I love most anything with roasted red peppers and this sauce is no exception. It's an addictive combination.

The bread, which is acts as a thickener, is usually fried in olive oil. This recipe, from Martha Rose Shulman, skips the frying and uses toasted bread. It makes the recipe quicker. I wouldn't say it makes the sauce light- this is a rich sauce even with toasted bread!

I like Aleppo chiles in this recipe. They are sweet-hot and a little fruity. In Boulder, you can find Aleppo chile flakes at the Savory Spice Shop, my favorite herb and spice purveyors in town. And if you don't have a Savory Spice Shop in your town, they take on-line orders

Romesco Sauce
(makes about 2 cups)

1 large roasted red pepper, cored and skin removed, roughly chopped
¾ pound ripe tomatoes (3 to 4 whole tomatoes)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup whole almonds, toasted
2 oz. crusty white bread, lightly toasted
1-2 teaspoons medium-hot chile flakes, such as Aleppo chiles
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the whole tomatoes on a metal pan and place under the broiler. Broil until it develops some char. Turn over and repeat on the other side. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Remove the the skin, and set aside the tomatoes.

With the food processor running, throw in the garlic to mince. Stop the processor and scrape garlic off the sides. Add in the almonds, bread, and chile flakes, and process to a paste. Scrape down the sides again, and add the red pepper, tomatoes, parsley, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Process until smooth. Scrape down sides. With processor running, add the vinegar and then the olive oil in a slow stream. Process until smooth and well-combined. Scrape the sides and taste. Add more salt if needed.

Best if served at room temperature. The garlic flavor builds if it is kept in the refrigerator. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Great as a spread on bread or crackers or as a sauce on fish, chicken, lamb, or vegetables.

From Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman, Rodale, Inc., 2007.