There is a pub here in Lafayette called the Black Sparrow. They serve a delicious romesco and goat cheese dip that I have had quite a few times. However, during this past weekend the pub was not an option, so I went about making my own. I started with a recent recipe from Bon Apetit magazine that dealt with a good paring sauce for pork. I made the pork (delicious) but the romesco sauce was a little heavy on ingredients that I do not usually have around in the kitchen, such as Spanish salted almonds or fresh marjoram.
This posed a problem, but nevertheless, I was determined to make something (and if that failed, there was always take-out). Thanks to a few substitutions, some alterations, and the labors of my food processor I was soon rewarded with a thick sauce that was really really good. And not only does it keep well, but I have started putting it on all kinds of things. Burgers, crackers, rice (oh yeah, that makes a good lunch), stuffed in pita bread, all kinds of things. This sauce will now probably take a place next to fresh salsa as something I always try to keep on hand.
The sauce itself is a bit non traditional (as I do not live near a supermarket that carries some of the more exotic ingredients). But I find it fully rewarding and pretty easy to make.
15-16oz jar roasted red peppers (about 4 peppers)
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 ripe plum tomato, chopped or 1/2 can diced tomatoes drained
2 T olive oil
2/3 cup roasted almonds (see below)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 T sherry or red wine vinegar
pinch dried oregano
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 425°F. Place red peppers in pie dish, sprinkle garlic and chopped tomato over. Drizzle with olive oil. In a seperate pie dish add the almonds and a bit of salt (you can use peeled or unpeel almonds, it does not really matter). Place both dishes in the oven. Roast the almonds for about 20 minutes, the peppers for about 30-40. Remove and let cool slightly.
Combine the now roasted almonds and the breadcrumbs in a food processor, chop until fine. Add the contents of the pie plate with peppers, the vinegar, the oregano, and some salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper.
Alternatively, if you make this dish with roasted meat, put the pan you roasted the meat in over a burner over medium heat. Add 1 cup sherry to the pan and reduce down to 2 tablespoons, scraping up the bottom bits. This will replace the vinegar.