Romesco is one of Spain’s iconic sauces, good not only with grilled onions or leeks but also asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, or brussels sprouts. You can even pair it with scrambled eggs or grilled meats, poultry, or seafood—it’s that versatile.
- 3 dried anorra chiles or 1 ancho or pasilla chile 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large or 3 medium ripe tomatoes
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons blanched whole almonds or slivers, toasted
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 slices country-style white bread
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the grill to high. Quickly toast the chile on both sides (10 to 20 seconds in all). Transfer it to a bowl of warm water and let soak for several minutes while you grill the rest of the vegetables. Skewer the garlic on toothpicks. Skewer the onion quarters on bamboo skewers. Arrange the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and onion on the grill grate and grill until the skin on the pepper is blackened and the other vegetables are nicely browned. As they are done, transfer them to a platter and let cool. Remove the toothpicks from the garlic and the skewers from the onions. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill until nicely browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Drain the chile; reserve the liquid. Tear the chile into pieces and remove the stem and seeds. Remove any very charred skin from the tomatoes and pepper; core and seed the pepper. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the bell pepper, chile, onions, garlic, bread, and almonds. Puree to a smooth paste. Add the parsley, vinegar, the remaining olive oil, and salt and black pepper. Process until smooth, adding enough of the reserved chile soaking liquid to make a pourable sauce. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar as necessary.
Serve the sauce at room temperature; it will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from Planet Barbecue by Steven Raichlen (Workman, 2010)