Romesco

Romesco requires some effort, but I usually spread it out over a few evenings. Start by roasting 5-6 red bell peppers (orange or yellow are okay, but don’t use green bells). Cut the stems so they stand upside down, arrange on a sheet pan, and cook at 400F for about 40 minutes or until they’re getting brown. At this point I usually put the peppers in a bowl and toss them into the refrigerator. You can skip the “sweating” step (putting the hot peppers in a bag) called for in most recipes for roasting peppers.  It’s not really necessary.

The next day (or several days later), combine about 2 cups of almonds (you can toast them, but I usually don’t; filberts, aka hazelnuts, work well, too) with 2-3 roughly chopped garlic cloves in the food processor. Grind them up until they look like coarse cornmeal.

Remove the skins, seeds, and seed core from the roasted peppers. The roasted skins come off easily, but it’s okay to leave a few bit attached. Add them to the processed almonds, pour in about half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, maybe a quarter cup of Katz Gravenstein apple cider vinegar (or the Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc version, both work well for this), a nice pinch of salt, and several shakes of the smoked Spanish paprika called pimenton. Process until well mixed and uniform. Taste and adjust the vinegar, oil, or salt if needed.

I like my romesco on the thick side, so at this point I add about a half cup of bread crumbs and process for a few more seconds. The results should be thick enough to spread. Or leave out the bread if you want a runnier version.