It’s worth the effort to make this sauce, if only for the aroma in the kitchen while preparing it. You’ll also be doing your body a favour if you make it, however. It is full of rich antioxidants and cancer-fighting ingredients.
Lycopene is a carotenoid responsible for the tomato’s red colour and tomatoes are the best dietary source of lycopene, particularly if they are cooked in olive oil. Not only are tomatoes the prostate’s best friend, but they are regarded as an important food for preventing other cancers as well. Garlic is believed to play an important role in preventing cancers of the digestive system as well as the prostate.
I learned how to make this garlicky sauce when I took part in a Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking Class with Bill Jones from Deerholme Farm last fall. He is a well-known accomplished chef and a very personable culinary instructor who has authored several cook books.
I have used this sauce on grilled vegetables, tossed with pasta, and as a crostini topping. I think it would be particularly good on halibut. It gets rave reviews from everyone (except from those foolish people who dislike excessive amounts of garlic.)
I was happy to find that Roast Potatoes with Chicken and Romesco was this weeks’ Food Matters Project challenge, chosen by Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits. It was an appropriate choice since she is living in Spain right now! You can check the other FMP participants’ creations here.
The secret to making great Romesco sauce is to roast the tomatoes and garlic first in lots of olive oil. Slow roasting them in the oven produces a greater depth of flavour than just tossing them together.
Makes 2 cups
- 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored
- 1 head garlic, sliced in half crosswise (just leave the skins on)
- Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1/4 cup blanched almonds
- 2 roasted red peppers
- 1 ancho chili, cored and seeded (An ancho chili is a dried poblano. Soak the ancho to make it more pliable before pureeing it.)
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar (I used Capirette, a product from Spain)
- 1 slice stale bread, cubed, if needed
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Put the tomatoes and half the garlic head in a baking pan. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top. Drizzle with about 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil into the cored tomato wells and on top of the garlic. Roast until the tomatoes and garlic are well caramelized but not burned, about 30 minutes. Enjoy the smells in your kitchen. Remove the skins from the garlic now. They will peel off easily.
From the remaining half head of garlic, coarsely chop 1 Tbsp. and put it in a food processor. Add the almonds, roasted red peppers, ancho chili, salt and vinegar and pulse until smooth. Add the roasted tomatoes and garlic and process until slightly chunky. Add the bread to thicken if necessary. Serve, drizzling a little olive oil on top. Soooo good!