Romesco Sauce


Makes about 1 cup

Romesco sauce is a lively Catalonian pesto full of roasted garlic flavor. Serve it with grilled shrimp, over cold sliced boiled beets, or with lamb meatballs. The romesco sauce freezes perfectly. You can also cover the sauce with oil and hold it in the refrigerator for about ten days.

1 garlic bulb, peels on
2 small dried chipotle chiles
4 dried tomatoes
1 cup chopped marinated peppers, drained, oil reserved cup toasted pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Place the garlic bulb on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and roast for 15 minutes until very tender.

In a small bowl, soak the dried chiles in ½ cup water until soft, about 10 minutes, then drain.

In a separate bowl, soak the dried tomatoes in ½ cup water until soft, about 10 minutes, but do not drain.

In a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, combine 2 cloves roasted garlic, chiles, tomatoes, tomato soaking water, marinated peppers, pine nuts, and salt to taste, and purée.

If needed, to keep the sauce soft and loose, add the oil reserved from draining the peppers, 1 tablespoon at a time.

To make the sauce very smooth, press through a fine-mesh sieve. If you are going to serve immediately or freeze, add water to loosen to the consistency of yogurt. Do not add water if you are going to preserve in oil.

To freeze, pour the sauce into a freezer container leaving ½ inch of headroom. To preserve in oil, spoon the sauce into a sterilized jar (boiled in water for 10 minutes at sea level, adding 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Tap down the jar to eliminate air pockets and cover the sauce with a layer of oil. Refrigerate. Pour off the oil (it can be use to recover the sauce) and spoon out the sauce as needed.

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