Xató / Romesco
Spain - Catalunya
  -   Xató
6 oz  
20 min  
This sauce is typical of Catalunya, in the northeast corner of Spain. Recipes vary a bit from town to town, but in all cases it's a thick red sauce. It's most famous application is as the dressing for Xatonada Salad, but it is also used as a dip or dressing for fish, snails, chicken, lamb and vegetables.



Dried Chili (2)
Hazelnuts (3)
Olive Oil ExtV
Wine Vinegar (4)
Make   -   (20 min)
  1. Core and seed the CHILI (see Note-2). Break it up and run to powder in your spice grinder.
  2. If raw, toast HAZLENUTS until very lightly browned (see Note-4). Include some extras so you can sample for the roasted flavor. The brown skins should mostly rub off, but no need to get anal about it, a few patches of skin won't hurt. Cool and crush.
  3. In a mortar, or preferably in a mini-prep food processor, mash together all Dressing Items, starting with the solids and finishing with the liquids. Add just a touch of water if the dressing seems too thick, but it should be quite thick, not runny.
  4. Serve cold.
  1. Chili:   I suggest using a large California Chili. In Spain dried Nora chilis would be used, but these are prohibitively expensive in North America. Because Noras have no heat, a small hot chili would be included. use your own best judgement as to whether a small hot chili should be added along with a California Chili, but the dressing should have some bite. For me, I'd certainly add a hot chili, but depending on my guests I might not. Traditionally the chilis are soaked and the flesh scraped off with the skins discarded, but with a whirling blade spice grinder this is not at all necessary.
  2. Hazelnuts:   These are best if freshly shelled and roasted in a dry pan or in a 350°F/175°C oven for about 5 minutes (easier, but dangerous, because you'll probably forget about them). If you are in a hurry you can use pre-roasted hazelnuts. Some recipes specify almonds.
  3. Wine Vinegar   Recipes vary in asking for red or white, so either can be used - but quality matters. I usually use an imported Italian wine vinegar, but California wine vinegars can also be very good (though harder to find).
  4. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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