The husband and I, while we share many interests and affections, have one area in which we diverge drastically: the sauce.
No, not sauce as in booze. We're both on board with that, silly! I mean sauces I make to go with food--tomato, cream, cranberry, fig-port, and now romesco.
He likes sauce. But I love it. I'm often at risk of drowning my food in it, if it's one I'm particularly fond of. I wonder if this is a very American tendency; I imagine the French and Italians use sauce sparingly, as a purposeful accent. Me, I sometimes return to the kitchen for another spoonful.
Awhile ago, we had dinner at our friends' house. Liz and Neal live down the street from us, which makes for easy and last-minute organizing, and even the occasional mid-week dinner party. We had grilled steak with romesco sauce, salad, bread, and cauliflower. I went a little nuts for the sauce, putting it on the steak and everything else. Nobody seemed to think that was weird, but maybe they were just being polite.
Liz might laugh that I still remember the menu, which we enjoyed at least six months ago, but my brain is a steel trap for food. Ask me what I read in the newspaper this morning and I have no idea, but I can tell you what I ate for lunch last Wednesday (leftover leftovers).
Anyhow, after a bit of of badgering on my part, she kindly provided me with the recipe for the romesco sauce. Or rather, she sent me a list of ingredients along with the singular instruction: "Dump it all in a food processor and let her rip."
And so I did. Aside from toasting the nuts and sauteing the garlic, it couldn't have been faster. I even had some bread crumbs I'd made the day before. The sauce turned out nearly as good as when we had it at Liz and Neal's house, but a little runnier than I would prefer. As I was dumping the entire jar of roasted red peppers in the food processor, I mused pointlessly, I wonder if I should have drained these. Well, yes. That would have been better. But the sauce still turned out gorgeously and it's the kind of recipe you can fiddle with and fix with oil, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and vinegar as you prefer. Just my type of thing.
I'm also fairly sure it will last a little while in the fridge. So far, I've only dipped some crackers in it, but I think it would be great on pork or chicken, or in place of mustard in a sandwich, with green beans, or simply on crostini, garnished with a crumble of goat cheese. The options are endless.
Liz's romesco sauce
(ingredients are approximations; revise to suit your taste)
1 14-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 12-oz jar roasted red peppers, drained
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/3 c. fresh bread crumbs
2-3 T sherry vinegar, or to taste
salt and pepper
Cook garlic in the olive oil until golden brown.
Dump all ingredients into a food processor and let her rip. Season to taste.