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This Catalan sauce takes its name from a variety of mild dried pepper. For more spice, add some minced fresh jalapeño or more cayenne. In Catalonia, romesco is served with grilled shellfish and green onions. It is also wonderful on grilled fish, lamb, pork or leeks and asparagus or beets, and is addictive as a dipping sauce for fried potatoes.
- 2 dried ancho chili peppers
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup virgin olive oil
- 1 slice coarse-textured peasant bread, 1/2 inch thick, crust removed
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup peeled, seeded, diced and well-drained tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place the ancho chilies in a bowl, add hot water to cover and let stand for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat a broiler (grill). Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise and remove the stem, seeds and ribs.
Place the pepper halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Broil (grill) until the skins are blackened and blistered. Transfer the pepper halves to a plastic container, cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Peel off the skins, then chop the pepper. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet, keeping them separate. Toast in the oven until fragrant and the skins of the hazelnuts begin to loosen, about 8-10 minutes. Spread the hazelnuts on a kitchen towel. Cover with a second towel and rub the towels against the nuts to remove the skins. Set the almonds and hazelnuts aside.
Drain the ancho chilies and remove the stems, seeds and ribs. Chop the chilies and set aside.
Warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small sautépan over medium heat. Add the bread and fry, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bread to a food processor fitted with the metal blade or to a blender. Add the ancho chilies, almonds and hazelnuts, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, paprika, the 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and the 3 tablespoons vinegar. Purée until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the 2/3 cup olive oil. The mixture should be the consistency of sour cream.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes to blend the flavors, then taste and adjust the seasoning with cayenne pepper or vinegar, if needed. Transfer to a bowl and serve, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Serving Size = 2 tablespoons
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
137 calories; 13g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 10mg sodium; 4g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 2g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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