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Romesco Potatoes

May 4, 2010

I’ve wanted to make Romesco potatoes ever since we went to Spain.  I didn’t have them there, so I wanted to

romesco potatoes

satisfy my craving at home.  It took Haley sending me this recipe from Smitten Kitchen to encourage me to do it.  These are delicious and they’ll be the star of your meal.  The recipe makes plenty of sauce, which will freeze well and would be great smeared on crostini, with goat cheese, sandwiches, with grilled fish or chicken.  There are tons of uses for the sauce, so I would recommend making all of it and freezing it for later.  This recipe is adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, via Smitten Kitchen and serves4 with potatoes, and would make 8 servings or so of sauce.


For the Romesco sauce:
5 dried ancho chiles

2 T raw almonds

2 T blanched hazelnuts, with skins rubbed off (or, more almonds)

1 c plus 2 T c extra-virgin olive oil

1 slice country bread, about 1-inch thick

1/3 c canned whole or crushed Italian tomatoes

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 lemon, for juicing

Splash of sherry vinegar

Kosher salt

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes (full size or minis work)

3-4 T extra virgin olive oil

4 to 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 bay leaves

6 springs thyme, plus 2 teaspoons thyme leaves (optional)

1 c Romesco sauce (from above)

2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove and discard the seeds and stems from the chiles, then soak them in warm water for 15 minutes to soften. Strain the chiles, and pat dry with paper towels. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, until they smell nutty and are golden brown.

Heat a large sauté pan over meidum high heat with 1 T of olive oil until hot and place the slice of bread in the pan.  Fry on both sides until golden brown and remove the bread from the pan and let cool. Cut it into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

Return the pan to the stove over high heat. Add 1 T of olive oil and the chiles and sauté for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often until the tomato juices have evaporated. Turn off the heat and leave the mixture in the pan.

In a food processor, pulse together the toasted nuts, garlic and fried bread until the bread and nuts are coarsely ground. Add the chile-tomato mixture and process for 1 minute more. With the machine running, slowly pour in the remaining 1 cup of olive oil and process until you have a smooth purée.   Add the parsley, season to taste with lemon juice, sherry vinegar and salt to taste.  (the sauce solids will seperate from the oil, but this is fine and you can just remix it with a spoon before serving)

Make the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a roasting pan or a 12-inch cast iron skillet and toss well with 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic cloves, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and a heaping teaspoon of salt. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast the potatoes until tender when pierced (this took 30 minutes for my tiny ones, or you can cut larger ones down into smaller pieces). Discard the bay and thyme and squeeze the garlic out of its skin and set aside.

Either transfer potatoes to a large sauté pan or transfer cast iron skillet to stove-top and heat on high for 2 minutes.  Pour in the remaining 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (you can get away with 1 tablespoon if you are using the same cast-iron you roasted the potatoes in and it is well seasoned) turn the heat to medium-high and wait 1 minute more. Add the potatoes and smash them with your spatula or a fork until a little broken up. Season with thyme leaves, salt and pepper and sauté them for 6 to 8 minutes until they are crispy on one side. (If they are stuck to the pan, don’t try to move them, they will eventually release themselves). After they’ve browned nicely on the first side, turn them until they color on all sides. Spoon the Romesco sauce and reserved garlic over the potatoes and stir. Toss in the parsley. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

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