Recipe: Romesco Sauce! »
If you’re vegetarian or vegan (or anyone) in San Francisco and you haven’t been to Ubuntu in Napa you are living life in 2D and you need to BE HERE NOW (aka GO THERE NOW.)
If you have been to Ubuntu, or you’re one of the million minions in the Oprah Army you’ve no doubt experienced the wonder of the chickpea fries with romesco sauce.
I have (been there, not the Oprah thing), and it’s something I’ve thought about day in and day out for months on end. DELICIOUS FRIES AND ROMESCO COME TO ME. But something else I’ve been thinking about since my last visit is, what the hell is Romesco sauce? My curiosity was again sparked by a recent encounter with it in another (unrelated) delicious dish, and I got to researching. Which is to say, I checked out Wikipedia.
Of course it’s from Catalonia in Spain, where everything delicious and awesome lives (have you ever been to Barcelona!? You will never want to come back!) Also, “Tarragona”!? What is more delicious than fresh tarragon? Practically nothing. Also it turns out Romesco is naturally vegan. Originally made by fishermen as a fish accompaniment (or so says the internet), it pairs well with a variety of things (I like it over couscous.) So I got to work making my own, and I suggest you do the same. Speaking of work, it’s kind of a big project, so settle in.
I synthesized this ingredient list from a couple different recipes, and altered it along the way. But basically you need:
- 1/4 cup almonds (I used the tamari-roasted ones from Rainbow; yum!)
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts (I couldn’t find these so I used Brazil nuts. It worked, but I’d go for the hazelnuts if you can find them.)
- 1 head garlic
- 1 slice stale bread (you can lightly toast it to approximate the staleness, if it’s not. I used a French bread; Italian loaf would work well too, like a pugliese?)
- 2 ripe small/medium tomatoes
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (or less, depending on your taste)
- 1 tsp. chili flakes
- 1 tsp. or so chopped fresh tarragon. No, the recipes didn’t call for it but it makes everything better, trust me. How wrong can it be if the sauce is from “Tarragona”
- pinch smoked paprika
Also, you need a food processor of a decent size. (What did old Spanish fishermen do without food processors, I would like to know?)
First, you need to roast the garlic. Cut off the pointy top, remove some outer skin, rub olive oil on the head (see how you are, pervert!?), and stick in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes until the inside is mushy.
While that’s happening, place both kinds of nuts (hehe nuts) (ed.: slut!) into the food processor and process until grainy (fine is okay too.)
Heat some olive oil in a pan. However much oil you want, I don’t care. Do you think the Catalonians care? They are too busy living out loud, probably bathing in olive oil. They laugh in the face of your few teaspoons!
Anyway, fry the stale bread in the olive oil for a few minutes, then put it aside. Then put the tomatoes in the same pan with the bready oil. These should be chopped up already. Sorry I forgot to tell you that. You might need to add some more oil to the pan for the tomatoes. Do it up, skinny!
Take the tomato pan off the heat before they burn. Tear up (or cut up) the fried bread and throw it in the food processor with the nuts and start it going, kinda slow. Proceed to add the tomatoes and keep it going. Then take the roasted garlic (oh shit is that still in the oven!? you need to get it out before it turns all gross and crispy!) and squeeze the mushy garlic into the processor with the other stuff. Finally, start feeding the drained roasted red peppers into the processor and puree it all together. While it’s running, finish it off with the vinegar, spices, some salt and pepper. Probably more salt than you just put in.
Mine came out more orange than red, like a thick tikka masala sauce but with a completely different (and delicious) taste. Refrigerates and reheats well too.
Pour over chickpea fries, couscous, your body (ed.: slut!), etc. Enjoy!
Megan Allison is visiting us from Guerrilla Curatorship, where she has been too despondent to post much about urban policy miscellany given the sad state of domestic affairs, and is instead turning to food for comfort. Don’t be surprised if she expatriates to Barcelona.