Recipe: Basic romesco sauce
A classic version or romesco sauce showcases the delicate notes of the nuts and a sweet Spanish paprika. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: Makes about 2 cups.
Note: Ñora peppers are available from Spanish importers such as La Espanola in Harbor City (laespanola) and La Tienda (tienda.com), as well as amazon.com. You can substitute Cascabels for the Ñora peppers (they're hotter than Ñoras). Marcona almonds are widely available; if using salted Marconas, omit the salt from the recipe or add to taste.
2 ounces Ñora peppers (about 8 to 10 peppers)
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup Marcona almonds
4 Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, divided
1 ounce good-quality country white bread, sliced, crusts removed
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably Spanish)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (preferably Jerez)
1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the peppers with boiling water and allow to soften for at least 30 minutes, then stem, seed and reserve.
2. While the peppers are softening, toast the nuts separately until golden and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. If the hazelnuts have skins, remove their skins by rolling them in a kitchen towel once they are cool. Set the nuts aside and raise the oven temperature to broil.
3. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and place them, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush 1 tablespoon of oil over the tomatoes and broil the tomatoes until the skins begin to darken and crack, about 5 minutes. Cool on their tray, then peel, core and set aside.
4. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the bread until golden brown. Cool and set aside.
5. In a food processor, coarsely chop the garlic, salt, fried bread and nuts. Add the peppers, tomatoes, paprika and vinegar and process to a rough paste. Slowly pour in the remaining olive oil in a steady stream and process until just combined.
Each tablespoon: 40 calories; 1 gram protein; 1 gram carbohydrate; 0 fiber; 4 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 78 mg. sodium.