For an especially silky version of this classic Spanish sauce, use salted, fried marcona almonds, which are generally available at cheese shops and specialty food stores, in place of the roasted, blanched almonds.
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4 ancho chiles (1 1/2 ounces), stems discarded
1 cup boiling water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 1-inch-thick slice country bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
8 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup roasted, blanched, unsalted almonds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 large plum tomatoes—halved, seeded and very coarsely chopped
One 7-ounce jar piquillo peppers, drained, or 1 cup drained roasted red bell
peppers from a jar, tossed with 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
How to Make It
Put the ancho chiles in a small heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water and let stand until the chiles are softened, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the bread cubes and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the toasted bread cubes to a plate and let cool.
Drain the ancho chiles, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Using a sharp paring knife, slit the chiles and remove the seeds. Transfer the chiles to a food processor. Add the reserved chile-soaking liquid and process until pureed. Strain the chile puree through a fine sieve set over a bowl.
In the food processor, combine the garlic with the almonds, coriander and cumin. Add the bread cubes and process until finely chopped. Add the ancho chile puree, tomatoes and piquillo peppers and process until smooth. With the machine on, slowly add the remaining 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and process until smooth. Season the romesco sauce with salt and scrape into a bowl.
The romesco sauce can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Romesco is a classic garlicky tomato and red pepper sauce from Catalonia region of Spain that can be used much like a pesto: brushed on grilled meats and vegetables, tossed with pasta and stirred into stews. It also makes a lovely sandwich spread.