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Romesco Sauce

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Yields 2-1/2 cups.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 46

This garlicky sauce, which originated in the city of Tarragona, has tons of variations and many uses—it's served with salads, grilled vegetables, meat, chicken, or fish, or stirred into fish stews. Try it tossed with pasta or as a sandwich spread. It keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.

  • 4 medium-size ripe tomatoes (1-3/4 lb. total), cored
  • 1 head garlic, sliced in half crosswise
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/4 cup) blanched almonds
  • 1-1/4 oz. (1/4 cup) peeled hazelnuts
  • 1 dried ancho chile, cored, seeded, slit, and opened so it lies fairly flat
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt; more to taste 
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. red wine (dry or fruity, but not oaky), if needed
  • 1 slice stale white bread, torn, if needed

Heat the oven to 375°F. Put the tomatoes and one half of the garlic head in a baking pan. Drizzle about 1 Tbs. of the olive oil into the cored tomato wells and on top of the garlic half. Roast until the tomatoes and garlic are well caramelized but not burnt, about 90 minutes. From the remaining half head of garlic, coarsely chop 1 Tbs. garlic and put it in a food processor.

Romesco Sauce Recipe
Slow oven roasting brings out the sugars in tomatoes and garlic. Get them caramelized but not burnt.

While the tomatoes roast, heat about 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Toast the almonds and hazelnuts in the pan, shaking the pan or stirring so they don't burn, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Cool the nuts on a paper towel and then put them in the food processor.

If using a dried chile, sear it in the same small pan over medium-high heat (keep it flat with a spatula or a fork) until a smoke wisp appears, about 10 seconds per side. Soak it in 1 cup hot tap water until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and put the chile in the food processor.

Romesco Sauce Recipe
Start with the toasted nuts, chile, and tomatoes to get the purée underway.
Romesco Sauce Recipe
Bill Devin pours in olive oil slowly to create an emulsified sauce, adds vinegar, and then tastes the romesco before making adjustments.

When the tomatoes and garlic are caramelized, let them cool. Pinch off the tomato skins (discard them) and squeeze out the garlic pulp. Put the tomatoes and garlic pulp in the processor. Add the salt and start the processor, pouring in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil in a slow, steady stream, as if making mayonnaise. Add the vinegar, pulse to incorporate, and taste; the sauce should have some zing, so add more if needed. Add salt to taste. Process the romesco until it comes together as a sauce but not so much as to lose its coarse, nutty texture. The sauce should be thick and creamy. If it seems too thick, add 1 or 2 Tbs. red wine. If it's too thin, add bread, pulsing a few more times.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1/4 cup; Calories (kcal): 170; Fat (g): fat g 15; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2; Protein (g): protein g 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 220; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Sarah Jay

So flavourful. I toasted the hazelnuts first, then rubbed them in a kitchen towel to remove the skins. Followed the recipe pretty closely. I had some leftover toasted panko breadcrumbs from last night, so used them to thicken it.

The bomb............... The Romesco Sauce is fabulous! Domine`

Great on about everything. Especially SPanish style with potatoes. I sometimes use roasted, skinned red bell peppers for half the tomatoes, it's a nice change. One of those recipes I love Fine Cooking for!

I love this sauce. My kids love this sauce. You'll love this sauce.

So good, you can just eat it on a spoon! Not difficult, either.

This sauce is to die for. On grilled veg on bread, shrimp.... loved it

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