Friday, April 7, 2017

Reb Sauce

Here is a sauce that I like to make. You will, of course, recognize it as a romesco variant. I devised it after tasting a similar sauce at a tapas restaurant in DC a few years ago, a Basque version of romesco called salvitxada. It was served with scallops, but was also excellent with the steak, and with the charred onions, and with everything. I was able to make a sauce that matches my sense memory pretty well, although I do think it is closer to a romesco than a salvitxada. Of course I don't generally serve it on scallops or steak-- I serve it on pasta. Any pasta works, but I have a thing for angel hair pasta (which I recognize is a polarizing choice). I also like to add some browned smoked sausage.

I made it for the niblings and A. said "it wasn't fantastic like you said it would be but it was pretty good," which I count as a good review, and of course I. and C. wouldn't try it, but I think they ought to have. Baby T. loved it. It hits a lot of notes that their beloved "pasta and pesto" does. Anyway, I like it, and it's easy, and it doesn't have to dirty a lot of dishes, and I think it's pretty also.

Crusty bread: one big 1" slice or, say, 3 slices of smaller baguette, torn into largish chunks
Tomato: 1 largish or 2 smallish
Garlic: 5 cloves or so-- don't bother to peel cloves, although if you do, that's ok
1/4 c slivered almonds
1/4 c hazelnuts (skin ok) (one type of nut is ok, but I like having both)
Roasted red peppers: 2, or if they are small in the jar, enough to equal 2 red bell peppers
2 T sherry vinegar
1 T smoked paprika
salt: at least a teaspoon
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/4 c olive oil
2-4 T butter, melted (one type of fat is ok, but I like having both)
smoked sausage, if you like

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking pan with foil. On it, roast the garlic, bread, nuts, and tomato for 10 minutes or so. Remove the nuts and bread-- continue roasting the garlic and tomato for another 20 minutes or so. At this point you can roast something else on the tray too, like asparagus in oil, pepper, and salt for 12-15 minutes, or brown the sausage in little pieces. Or both. Use that pan!

Remove the tomato and garlic from the oven. When cool enough, remove tomato skin and peel garlic; roughly chop tomatoes and peppers as you add them to the bowl of a very good food processor. Add all ingredients except oil and butter (and sausage!) to the food processor. Blend until very smooth. Then put the butter and oil in the drip emulsifier thingy and let that thing run forever until it is all emulsified and beautiful. Adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, whatever else it needs. (I usually find that it doesn't need much adjustment past fixing the salt).

Serve on pasta with sausage stirred in if you like. Serve with the rest of the crusty bread and whatever you may have also roasted on the baking pan.