Chris Staines, chef proprietor at The Ollerod in Beaminster, shares his recipe for romesco sauce
You will need
Medium tomatoes 6, ripe
Garlic 2 bulbs
Nora peppers 2 (alternatively, use 2 mild red chillies or a red bell pepper)
Crusty bread 2 stale slices
Hazelnuts 70g, blanched
Almonds 70g, blanched
Sea salt 1½ tsps
Extra virgin olive oil 200ml
Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar 4 tbps, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 175˚c / gas 3.
- Remove the eyes from the tomatoes and make a cross incision on the top of each.
- Place the tomatoes and garlic bulbs on an ovenproof tray and drizzle with olive oil and a little rock salt. Place in the oven for an hour (the garlic bulbs should be soft to the touch and the tomato skins starting to blacken). If you’re using peppers or red chillies, roast them now too. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can pick them up.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, rehydrate the nora peppers in lukewarm water until soft, then scrape out the flesh, discard the stem and seeds (don’t worry if a few are left).
- Toast the bread and nuts. You can do this either by placing them on a tray in the oven with the tomatoes for five minutes, or in a pan over a medium heat on the stove.
- Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off their skins. Pop the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins (peel the red bell pepper if you’re using). Transfer the peeled tomatoes and garlic to a blender or food processor and add the sea salt.
- Begin blending and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once it has emulsified, add the toasted bread, vinegar and nora pulp (at this stage I like to add a clove of raw garlic for that extra garlicky kick).
- Finally, add the nuts and blend a little more. Romesco sauce should be grainy so don’t over-blend; a bit of bite is good. Taste and adjust the seasoning. A squeeze of lemon juice really wakes this sauce up: it should be tangy with a hit of garlic.