Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sauce = Romesco / Piquillo + Saffron + Mint

"Romesco Sauce is being added to the repertoire of restaurant chefs more and more these days. It is a versatile sauce with origins in Catalonia. While most commonly served with fish, Romesco Sauce also goes well with lamb and chicken. This version will pair nicely with salt baked fish such as trout or striped bass, with fried smelts, or with a local lamb leg braised with olives and citrus such as kumquats." - Corey

What You Need:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed. 
Piquillo Peppers, 6 ea. *
Vine Ripened Tomatoes, 10 ea. 
Garlic Cloves, whole, medium size, 3 ea. 
Yellow Onion, diced, 1 ea. 
Red Chili Pepper, dry, 3 ea. 
Blanched Almonds, 4 oz. 
Day Old Bread, stale, large dice, 3 oz. 
Good Sherry Vinegar, 2 Tbs. 
Pimenton, 2 tsp. 
Fresh Mint Leaves, whole, 4 each **
Saffron Threads, 4 each
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Water, 1 cup

How You Make It: 
1. Lightly toss the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, bread and almonds in the olive oil. Spread the mix evenly on a pan and roast the mixture in a 425 degree oven until the garlic and almonds turn a golden brown color.
2. Seed and stem the dry chiles and lightly saute them with the saffron until they become aromatic (about 2 minutes). "Deglaze" the peppers with about 1 cup of water and simmer them until they are tender. Strain. Use the remaining liquid to enhance the flavor of the Romesco and adjust the consistency if needed.
4. Add the roasted bread/vegetable mixture, chiles, sherry vinegar, mint, and pimenton to a food processor or blender.  
5. Blend the mixture to a smooth paste. Adjust the consistency with the reserved chile water as needed.
6. Reserve the sauce until service.

This recipe makes about 1 pint
* You can substitute 4 roasted, peeled, and seeded red bell peppers.
** Leave the mint leaves whole until blending so the flavorful oils have a chance to perfume the sauce correctly.