Carrie Brown & Jimtown Store
From The Jimtown Store Cookbook, ©Copyright 2002, Harper Collins Publishers
Makes about 4 cups
Romesco is a refrigerator staple at Jimtown, and a star of our condiment collection. First sampled on a visit to Spain, where they make the most of fine paprikas and sweet peppers, it’s grown as ubiquitous in our cooking and eating as ketchup is in other households. (Although aside from terrific red color, the two don’t have much else in common!) A nubbly, ruddy emulsion, thickened with breadcrumbs and almonds, not egg yolks, romesco sauce is bold yet suave. Spread it on sandwiches, stir it into sour cream or ricotta as a dip for crudites, or whisk a tablespoonful or two into vinaigrette to make our fabulous Red Dressing. A smaller batch is a little tricky to make, but Romesco freezes well, and having it on hand (in small, quick-thaw quantities), is very reassuring indeed.
1 cup fine, fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup whole, unblanched almonds, about 4 1/2 ounces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
½ tsp crushed red pepper
3 cups seeded, chopped red-ripe plum tomatoes (from about 1 pound whole)
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained (7¼ ounces, about 1 cup), see Note
6 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp best-quality sweet Spanish or Hungarian paprika
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. In a shallow metal pan, like a cake tin, toast the bread crumbs, stirring them once or twice, until they are golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
In a food processor, combine the crumbs, almonds, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Process until the almonds are fairly evenly chopped. Add the tomatoes, peppers, vinegar, paprika, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper and process briefly. With the motor running, gradually add the oil through the feed tube, stopping once or twice to scrape down the work bowl. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop. The Romesco can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months. Return it to room temperature and adjust the seasoning before using.
Note: Freshly roasted red pepper can certainly be substituted. One meaty, medium-large pepper should yield about 1 cup chopped flesh.
© Copyright 2002 The Jimtown Store Cookbook, Harper Collins Publishers