Recipe: Creamy Romesco

dsc0429-1

Romesco – it’s the traditional fare of Catalonian fishermen, and famous for its versatility. Kind of like pesto in Italy or ketchup in North America, you can do a lot with a big bowl of romesco. It’s a rich and creamy sauce made from a mix of nuts and peppers. You can eat it with fish or meat, spread it on bread, season your pasta with it, or use it as a dip with fresh veggies. Chef Zach Jarrett, our first Freshly Tastemaker, is sharing his recipe for romesco, with us. He uses it in his signature Romesco Roasted Chicken dish (you’ll find that recipe here.)

Zack CircleYou’ll need:

  • 4 Roma tomato, cut in half long ways
  • 9 cloves of garlic, unpeeled but smashed
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1C Olive Oil
  • 1 12oz jar piquillo peppers drained
  • 1/4C toasted almonds and 2T hazelnuts
  • 4 Ancho chiles, soaked in hot water 30 minutes.
  • 1t sherry vingar and red wine vinegar to taste

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

2) In a small casuela or large oven-safe ramekin, place the tomato cut side up, 7 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of thyme. Season the tomato with salt and pepper then cover them 2/3rd of the way with olive oil.

3) Bake uncovered for an hour, then turn tomatoes cut side down, and bake an additional hour until they are deep red in color and the garlic is soft. Remove and set aside.

4) In a large sauté pan, pour 1t of the tomato chile oil and gently fry the soaked ancho peppers until fragrant and slightly browned. It should take about 2 minutes.

5) Set up a food processor and begin by blitzing the nuts, then the 2 remaining raw cloves of garlic. When broken down, add the ancho chile followed by the piquillo peppers, roasted tomato and garlic (remove from skins).  As the mixtures press drizzle in the tomato oil and remaining fresh olive oil as well as the sherry vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the balance with red wine vinegar (more sherry will make it taste slightly muddy).