It seems like cheating somehow to do two posts in a row that are incredibly simple yet amazingly delicious, though I guess that’s probably the best of both worlds. I admit that I do like a complex recipe, I get a thrill out of building something from many colorful and distinctive parts, some of which you have to gather in the darkest part of the forest, or the upstairs in Kalustyans, which does involve a passport stamp. (East Side/West Side joke, funny to neither) Having come through the coldest February on record since 1939, my humor is not to be trusted, but here we are at March 1st! And…it’s snowing, lynx and wolves. So let us move forward, and reward ourselves with a gorgeous jar of sunshine and spectacular flavor called Romesco! Start with the best tomato you can find, and I know that will be a challenge but poke around through the hard, off color, mealy supermarket fare until you see something that reminds you of sunshine and happiness, and cherry red convertibles and ruby slippers and the hope that somewhere, someday the temperature will rise above 17 by the time you take the dog out in the morning and… . Just try and find a ripe one, even a crappy tomato will not take this sauce down. Believe me, I know.
Put that tomato (large), and a cup of slivered almonds on a baking pan and bake for ten minutes in a 350 oven. You just want the almonds to color, you don’t want to let them burn so keep an eye out, but ten minutes is usually just right. I actually ended up sticking my crappy tomato back in for a couple of minutes because you want to be able to peel it easily. Here’s the rest of what you’ll need below. Some people like to sauté a jalapeño before adding the garlic. I don’t, but if you like a little more kick, be my guest! Those are scallions by the way, not cigarettes.
In a 1/4th cup of olive oil sauté your jalapeño (if you like) for about five minutes over medium heat. Add two chopped garlic cloves and cook for a couple of minutes, not enough to let the garlic brown.
Put into food processor 1/2 yellow pepper – I used a red one, because that’s what I had. We’re talking bell peppers here.
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped and the garlic, oil and jalapeño (if used)
Remove the skin from the tomato and add that into the food processor along with the almonds and 1 tsp cider vinegar.
Process for a a minute and slowly add another 1/4 cup olive oil. 1/2 tsp salt and puree until smooth.
So what’s happening here? Basically you are toasting a cup of slivered almonds and a tomato in a 350 oven for ten minutes.
Peel the tomato.
Sauté two chopped garlic cloves (and a jalapeño if you like-do that first for about five minutes, add the garlic for about two, don’t let it brown.
Chop half a yellow or red bell pepper, two scallions, and stick them in a food processor – I just have a four cup food processor and it works great. Add the tomato, almonds and a tsp apple cider vinegar. Process still combined, slowly add 1/4 c. olive oil and 1/2 salt, and process till smooth.
The first time I tasted this I was blown away. The second time I made it, same thing! Literally shouted, Wow! The nutty toasted almonds, with the sweet peppers and garlic, the fresh earthy scallions and the tomato make this a wonderful sauce for fish or just for dipping raw veggies in. I keep a jar in my fridge and pop it out for lunch with whatever veggies I have. I sit at my table, with my feet up on a chair and try to emulate that relaxed european scene of sitting at the table with your feet up on a chair, casually eating something gorgeous. European’s probably don’t put their feet up at the table, I don’t know, I’m just saying it feels special because it’s called romesco and it’s orange. I told you, it’s snowing, don’t blame me for dreaming.