F & W Romesco sauce-- yum!!!
I just made the Feb. Food & Wine recipe for romesco sauce in their Spain issue-- yum! It is the best recipe for this sauce I have come across yet-- intensely nutty and garlicy and flavorful. You pan fry the almonds and croutons in olive oil before mashing them together with the roasted red pepper and plum tomatoes, and you saute the roasted red pepper in olive oil with garlic for a few minutes before adding the plum tomatoes. It was a lot of steps before the pureeing and seasoning step, but it had so much more depth of flavor than other recipes I'd dug up previously.
I didn't serve it with leeks as the recipe called for, since the leeks looked cruddy at the store. Instead, I pan roasted some green beans in olive oil, salt and pepper until well-browned, deglazed the pan with a little sherry and lemon juice until evaporated, and topped the green beans with a dollop of the sauce and some crumbled ricotta salata cheese-- the closest I could come to the garroxta cheese mentioned in the recipe. I served the beans alongside a roasted chicken that sat for two days in the fridge in a dry rub of paprika, thyme, salt & pepper, garlic powder, and a dash of chipotle pepper. It was a great side dish, and I've got a cup and a half of the sauce left for further eating later this week.
Here it is, with my deviations in parentheses. The recipe calls for using either a large mortar and pestle, or a food processor. I took the easy way out. I think the recipe makes almost 2 cups, so you would want a mortar that's 4 cups or more to leave enough room for pounding and stirring.
Leeks Romesco with Crumbled Garroxta cheese (Garroxta is a semi soft Catalan goat's milk cheese, I used ricotta salata) :
1 sm red bell pepper
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 c blanched whole unsalted almonds (I used roasted, not blanched)
1/2 c cubed firm textured crustless white bread (I used 3 pepperidge farm sandwich slices)
2 garlic cloves, smashed ( I used 3, after picking out the green shoots)
2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped (I used 2 1/2, since two of my three tomatoes needed bad spots cut out)
3 tbsps sherry vinegar
salt & cayenne pepper (I used a dash of hot sauce, and two spoons of kosher salt from my salt piglet spoon)
6 med leeks, white & light green parts only, halved lengthwise
1/4 c chicken or low sodium stock/broth
4 oz.=1 c. crumbled Garroxta ("garrochta") or other semi aged tangy goat cheese
Crusty bread for serving
Brush the pepper with evoo and roast over gas flame or in broiler until charred all over. Cover in a bowl w/plastic wrap 15 min., then peel and seed. Cut into thick strips.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbsp evoo until shimmering. Add almonds, cook over med. heat, stirring, until golden, appx. 5 min. Dump onto cutting board and let cool. Coarsely chop. (I skipped the chopping, since I used a food processor.)
Heat another tbsp. of evoo in the same skillet, over med. heat, add bread cubes and toast until golden and crisp, appx. 5 min. Transfer to a plate. (I dumped them in with the almonds, since I was processing, not pounding.)
Heat another tbsp. of evoo in the same skillet, med. heat, add red pepper strips and smashed garlic cloves, cook until garlic is softening and lightly golden, appx. 5 min. Add the chopped plum tomatoes, cook another min. Transfer to mortar or food processor bowl, let cool. (Mine cooled for 15 min.)
Add the almonds to the pepper mixture and either pound into a coarse paste, or pulse in processor. Add the toasted bread cubes and 1 tbsp. more of evoo, pounding or pulsing until amalgamated. Gradually add 1/4 c evoo more, until again amalgamated. Stir in 2 tbsps. sherry vinegar, and season with salt and cayenne. (I pulsed the pepper mixture, them dumped in the bread/almonds, half at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition and pulsing. I drizzled the evoo and sherry vinegar in while pulsing. I stirred in the salt and hot pepper sauce after taking it out of the bowl, and transferring to a glass bowl.)
In a large deep skillet, heat 2 tbsps evoo until shimmering. Add the leeks and cook over med. heat, turning occasionally, until softening and lightly browned, appx. 10 min. Add the chicken broth and 1 tbsp sherry vinegar, season with salt and cayenne, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat 10-12 min., until tender. Let cool, then drain.
Arrange leeks on platter, spooning half the sauce over the leeks. Sprinkle crumbled cheese on top, and serve the rest of the sauce on the side, along with crusty bread.
(Green beans variation: I put 2 tbsps evoo in my 12" saute pan, and tossed in topped & tailed, snapped in half green beans. I added about 1 tsp. kosher salt, six grinds of black pepper, stirred, and covered. I stirred occasionally, over medium heat, and let the beans get browned and wrinkly looking. When they were done, I deglazed the pan with 2 tbsps. lemon juice and a tbsp. sherry, and stirred until evaporated. I put a dollop of the sauce on top, and crumbled ricotta salata on top of that.)
The romesco sauce keeps, covered, for up to 4 days in the fridge.