Saturday, March 6, 2010

Romesco sauce

From A New Way to Cook, by Sally Schneider

2 ancho chiles
20 blanched whole almonds
1 thick slice white peasant bread, crusts removed
¼ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
About ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Roasted Garlic Puree [Basically 3 whole heads garlic, roasted at 400 for about 40 minutes, then squeeze roasted garlic out of the skins and mash with a fork]
1 medium tomato
2 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove stems and seeds from ancho chiles and break into pieces. In a large heavy skillet, toast the chiles over moderate heat, turning occasionally with a spatula to prevent them from burning, until they begin to darken and smell pungent, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover with about 1 cup boiling water. Let soak for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread the almonds on a baking sheet and roast, rearranging occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

While the almonds are roasting, brush the bread with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Place on a small baking sheet and toast till dry and golden. Slice one of the [raw] garlic cloves lengthwise in half and rub both sides of the bread with the cut sides of the garlic. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside; reserve the garlic. Drain the chiles and pat dry on paper towels.

In a food processor, finely chop the almonds, scraping the sides down occasionally. Break the bread into 1-inch pieces, add to the work bowl, and process to fine crumbs. Add the ancho chiles and garlic puree.

Slice the tomato crosswise in half. Squeeze out the juice and seeds and discard. Working directly over the work bowl, rub the cut sides across the large holes of a metal grater so that the flesh is coarsely grated but the skin remains intact in your hand. Discard the skin.

With the motor running, drizzle in all but 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil. Add the vinegar, cayenne, and pepper to taste, and transfer to a bowl.

In a mortar, mash the fresh garlic, including the cut clove, and ½ teaspoon salt to a paste. Stir into the sauce.

Just before serving, stir in the reserved 1 tablespoon oil, without totally incorporating it.

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