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Latin Twist: Versatile, Nutty, Wonderful–Romesco Sauce

On my recent reunion trip to Spain, I had the great pleasure of taking a cooking class (at Cook and Taste [1]-), which is a great place to take a class!). By the way, if you are a food fan—and I’m guessing you are if you’re reading this post—taking a cooking class, no matter where you are, is a wonderful local-learning experience! In our case, we also got to go to the local market, which was wow, such a treat! We bought most of the ingredients for our dishes there, including this dreamy sauce.

[2]Back to this post…

Romesco Sauce hails from the very place I learned to make it: Cataluña, Spain!
The combination of toasted nuts with roasted vegetables give this sauce a full bodied flavor that marries well with fresh vegetables (like snap peas, shown  in this picture), as well as with toasted crusty Italian bread, Pan con Tomate, [3] and more! It is a beautiful addition when preparing a tapas dinner—with treats like Tortilla Española [4](posted here!); it also [5]complements soups like Roasted Golden Beet [6] –or Pumpkin [7]. Seasonal, rich, and tasty, I’m sure you’ll find this sauce can easily be incorporated into your repertoire.

Romesco Sauce

Serves approximately 6

4 dried sweet red nyores peppers (or another mild, dried chili pepper—like ancho chilies)
3 large ripe tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1/2 cup peeled almonds
1/2 cup peeled hazelnuts
1 slice of stale Italian bread
Extra virgin Olive oil
Coarse salt
Sherry vinegar

Soak the peppers in warm water for about 10 minutes (until slightly softened). Cut them open, and scrape out the seeds/veins with a spoon. Coarsely chop and set aside.

Season the garlic bulb with  a bit of olive oil, and salt.  Wrap in foil, and cook in the oven for one hour.  Season the tomatoes as well, but leave uncovered, and bake for the same amount of time.

Fry the bread slice in a pan with some oil, along with the almonds and hazelnuts, stirring to prevent overtoasting. Cook until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Once the garlic is roasted, remove the pulp from the peel. Place in a blender. Also remove the skin from the tomato. Add the remaining ingredients, including the oil, little by little. Taste for salt and vinegar, and season accordingly. Use immediately (As a dip as in shown above, or as pictured again here, below, on toasted Italian bread, with a bit of crushed hazelnuts on top!), or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy! [8]