09 May 2010

recipe: toasted hazelnut romesco dip

Everytime I make this simple dip, it garners recipe requests and tasty praise (like last night at Amanda's dinner soiree), so I thought I'd pass it along. It's kinda like a cross between hummus and a pesto, but far more flavorful, especially if you increase the amounts of cayenne and vinegar added. I like to smear this dip on crusty bread, but it's also delish with carrots, cherry tomatoes and baby radishes.

Toasted Hazelnut Romesco Dip

1 medium-size dried ancho chile, stemmed, seeded, torn into small pieces
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 ½ tablespoons toasted bread crumbs
1 small ripe plum tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon sweet (not smoked) paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)

1. Place the ancho pepper in a small bowl, add ½ cup very hot water and soak until softened (about 30 minutes). Drain.
2. Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until they are ground medium-fine. Add the ancho pepper, garlic, bread crumbs, tomato, paprika, and cayenne, and process until fairly smooth (but still has some texture from the nuts). Drizzle in the olive oil until it’s completely incorporated.
3. Scrape the sauce into a bowl, stir in the vinegar, season with salt to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Taste sauce before serving and add more vinegar and cayenne to taste. The dip will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to one week. Makes about ½ cups.

Note: For stronger hazelnut flavor, you can fry the toasted/skinned nuts in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until golden.

Recipe adapted from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen

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