Grilled Baby Leeks with Romesco Sauce

Make the Romesco sauce ahead (up to 3 days), and then grill up the baby leeks when you’re ready to serve them. Serve the sauce at room temperature with the grilled leeks.

GRILLED BABY LEEKS W/ ROMESCO SAUCE

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1 small ancho chile, seeded
3 tablespoons hazelnuts
Two 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette, toasted & torn into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons roasted almonds, preferably Marcona, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes—peeled, seeded & coarsely chopped
1 roasted red pepper from a jar, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 baby leeks or thick scallions, trimmed

1. Light a grill. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small heatproof bowl, cover the ancho with hot tap water and soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a pie plate, toast the hazelnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. Let the hazelnuts cool, then transfer them to a kitchen towel and rub them together to remove the skins. Transfer the hazelnuts to a work surface and let cool completely, then coarsely chop.

3. In a food processor, combine the ancho with the hazelnuts, toasted baguette, almonds and garlic and process to a smooth paste. Add the tomatoes, roasted red pepper and vinegar and puree. With the machine on, slowly pour in the 1/4 cup of olive oil and process until blended and smooth. Scrape the romesco sauce into a bowl, stir in the parsley and season with salt and black pepper.

4. Brush the leeks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until charred all over, about 3 minutes. Serve with the romesco sauce alongside.

Serves: 4

Cooking Tips:
*If you’re not a fan of hazelnuts, or if you don’t have any handy, you can use all almonds instead.
*Marcona almonds can be found at Costco, World Market or in gourmet supermarkets. Use regular almonds if you can’t find Marcona. You should attempt to find them though… they’re amazing!
*You can peel a firm-fleshed Roma tomato with a vegetable peeler. To seed the tomato, cut it in half horizontally, hold the tomato over a bowl, cut side down, and gently squeeze out the seeds and gel, coaxing them out with your finger if necessary.
*Food & Wine suggests serving this with Spain’s most famous sparkling white wine- cava.

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine