Smoky Romesco

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 10 min
  • Yield: about 2 cups
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Ingredients

3 red bell peppers

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed

75 grams whole blanched almonds

40 grams stale French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Special equipment:
hardwood chunks, smoker, toaster oven, food processor
  1. Set up your favorite smoker and add a handful of hardwood chunks. If you have heat control, set it to whatever position will give you moderate heat: 180 to 200 degrees F. Allow the wood to smoke for approximately 30 minutes before adding food.
  2. While the smoker is heating, position an oven rack 5-inches below the broiler and set the broiler to high.
  3. Halve the peppers lengthwise, discard the seeds, place cut side-down on a sheet pan, then broil, rotating the pan halfway through, until the skins are charred, about 10 minutes. (Or you can char them over your gas cooktop burners if you have them. It's a little messy but darned efficient and fun in a medieval kind of way.)
  4. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes, then slip the charred skins off the peppers with your hands. (Doing this under running water helps.)
  5. Spread the tomato paste into a thin layer on piece of parchment paper and place on a baking rack along with the peppers and garlic. Smoke for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a toaster oven to 400 degrees F and toast the almonds until light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Set up a food processor with an S-blade (the normal processing blade) and load in the bread cubes, smoked peppers, garlic and tomato paste, the toasted almonds, sherry vinegar and salt. Pulse until uniform but still chunky, then leave the motor running while you add the oil in a constant stream. (Do this fairly quickly so that the sauce doesn't puree completely.)
  8. For full flavor, wait a couple of hours to serve at room temp. To store, cover tightly and refrigerate for up 10 days or freeze in ice cube trays for easy dosing.