Monday, July 11, 2011

Romesco Sauce

Romesco is a sauce originating in Tarragona (Cataluña, Spain) that is typically made from almonds, pine nuts and hazelnuts, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar and red peppers. It is probably most often used with seafood but is versatile and can be served with a wide variety of other foods, including poultry, vegetables and cheese.
Makes 2 1/2 cups of Romesco Sauce
10 minutes
Make Sauce, DO AHEAD: In a small saucepan reduce 1/4 cup dry white wine, 4 sun-dried tomatoes and 1 peeled garlic clove
until wine is reduced by half. Remove, let cool.
Blend cooled wine mixture with 
3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 firm or toasted white sandwich bread, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup whole almonds, 1/8 cup hazelnuts and 1/8 cup pine nuts.Season with salt. 
Cover and chill.
Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.
Sauce will preserve well in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for 6 months.
A DOZEN things to do with Romesco Sauce:
  1. 1. Wrap Serrano Ham (Jamón Serrano) around scallops, broil and top with a dollop of Romesco Sauce and a sprinkle of thyme leaves.
  2. 2. Spread Romesco Sauce over Grouper, Lemon Sole or Red Snapper, broil. Serve with grilled vegetables and boiled potatoes.
  3. 3. Shred some left over grilled chicken, toss with Romesco Sauce (blended smoothly), fresh Spinach leaves, pine nuts, fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of good quality Spanish extra-virgin olive oil.
  4. 4. VEG!  Smear on small toasts with a thin slice of Manchego cheese good quality Spanish extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of thyme leaves.
  5. 5. Boil mussels in a white wine and water. Remove, toss with Romesco Sauce and garnish with a few coriander (cilantro) sprigs.
  6. 6. VEG! Use an alternative to the Italian Marinara Sauce. Boil corkscrew (rotini) pasta or penne until barely al dente. Remove, add pasta to warmed Romesco Sauce in a large skillet, toss together with some reserved pasta water, green peas and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  7. 7. Broil shrimp and tweak your Romesco Sauce with more garlic and smoked Spanish paprika, cayenne, Poblano chili or red pepper flakes. 
  8. 8. VEG! A good vegetarian hors d’oeurcre is steamed or broiled vegetables, such as asparagus, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, baby potatoes, red and yellow peppers and artichokes, served with a variety of dips. One of which can be the Romesco Sauce.
  9. 9. Grill pork tenderloin, remove from grill, cool and slice. Arrange on a platter with fresh baby spinach leaves and Romesco Sauce.
  10. 10. VEG! Blend the Romesco Sauce with a few tablespoons of unsalted butter to give it a creamier consistency. Spread on toast with a thin slice of Manchego cheese for a snack or quick breakfast.
  11. 11. VEG! Add a little to a soup to give it the Spanish Romesco flavor.
  12. 12. VEG! Use it as a substitute to your meat sauce in lasagna and make a nutty vegetarian lasagna instead.

Almost everyone has their own take on this classic Romesco Sauce. As long as the essential ingredients of tomatoes, almonds, pine nuts and hazelnuts  along with red wine vinegar, garlic and olive oil are in you are good to go. Be creative, play around and tweak the sauce until it is to your liking and taste. Stick to Spanish ingredients when experimenting, as ‘what grows together, goes together’.
Some like the sauce to have a smoother consistency and some a coarser nuttier consistency.

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