Heads up: This recipe takes a little bit of work. (However, I have a small kitchen so I’m not sure if most of the labor came from me having to try to find counter space and or if it was truly a lot of steps.) This recipe requires broiling, roasting, mashing, soaking, toasting, blending, chopping and more. But, man, is the work worth it. The roasted goodness of the onion and tomatoes, the zing of the red wine vinegar and the smokiness of the ancho chilies creates a deeply flavored sauce. This sauce is so versatile that it is going to be poured over pasta, vegetables and anything else I find for the next week. I just need to remember to save enough to freeze so I can enjoy it at another time.
Classic Romesco Sauce
Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
- 2 medium onions, peeled but left whole
- 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 3 large very ripe tomatoes
- 3 dried ancho chilies
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons blanched slivered almonds
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
Turn on the broiler. Spread the onions garlic, and tomatoes on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil.
Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning the onions, garlic, and tomatoes as the outsides char. The garlic will get done first. Remove the garlic cloves and continue for another 10 minutes or so until the onions and tomatoes are also browned on all sides. Remove the tomatoes at this stage.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake the onions for 25 to 35 minutes, or until they have softened all the way to the inside. Meanwhile, remove the stems and seeds of the ancho chilies by cutting the tops off and shaking out as many seeds as possible.
Put the chilies in a small pot along with the vinegar and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil.
Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until all the chiles are soft. Turn the heat off. Let the ancho mixture sit, covered, for another 5 minutes, or until the peppers are very soft. Cool slightly in the liquid, then remove the peppers from the liquid and peel away the skin. (If the skin does not peel easily, leave it; it will come off later. ) Remove any seeds that are still clinging to the flesh. Save any vinegar left in the pot.
Put the tomatoes and ancho chilies into a coarse sieve set over a bowl. Using your fingers or a wooden spoon, push out as much pulp as possible. Make sure you collect all the pulp on the underside of the sieve as well.
Put the almonds in a small cast-iron pan and set over medium heat. Stir the almonds quickly for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool, then grind to a fine powder in a clean spice grinder. (Note: I do not have a spice grinder, so I put the almonds in my food processor.)
When the onions are very tender, remove them from the oven and discard the charred outer layer. Chop them coarsely. Peel the garlic cloves.
Put the ancho-tomato mixture, onions, garlic, ground almonds, oil, leftover vinegar, if any, and salt into a blender.
Blend to a puree. Serve at room temperature or chilled.