Romesco is a classic Spanish sauce that is served with a wide variety of dishes, including the famous tortilla Española from the Tarragona region, this classic Catalan sauce combines almonds with two of the most popular horticultural imports from the New World—chiles and tomatoes. The sauce gets its name from the romesco chile, but these are not readily available outside Spain. A combination of ancho and New Mexican chiles approximates the flavor.
These hot and rich candies are well worth the extra effort it takes to make them. Because the filling needs to be refrigerated overnight, they do require advance preparation. The rum can be omitted if you desire, just plump the raisins with water.
This recipe is from Giuliano Bugialli as profiled by Nancy Gerlach, who met him in Rome. She commented: “This in an all-purpose sauce that can be used on a variety of pastas. To really 'enrage' the sauce, replace the crushed New Mexican chile with chiltepíns or piquin chiles.”
“Running with the devil” is my rough translation of salsa fra diavolo, a pasta sauce redolent with fresh herbs. It can be spread over crusty bread, sprinkled with cheese, and baked. If cooked until quite thick, it makes a great pizza sauce, too.
A high heat source is essential for this dish. It was cooked for us outdoors over a large gas flame, and consequently took only a few minutes to prepare. It is usually served over plain white rice. San Jay says this chicken tastes better if the bones are left in. He also says that chileheads are permitted to add red chile powder.
In northern Mexico, the chiles, tomatoes, and onions are grilled before making Salsa Cruda, so why not substitute some fried vegetables? Separately frying the ingredients and flavoring with cilantro keeps this from being a pasta sauce. Serve this with chips or as a topping for grilled meat, poultry, or fish.