Romesco sauce is one of my all-time favorites. It’s the kind of sauce that can transform a dish or even a whole meal. For this recipe, I pair this robust sauce with grilled garlic scapes and lamb chops. This version also happens to be gluten-free. I’ve increased the quantity of nuts and substituted sun-dried tomatoes for fresh tomatoes to reduce the amount of liquid and eliminate the need for a bread binder. (Bread…what bread? I don’t even miss it.) The smoky flavors of paprika and chiles combine with the sweet notes of tomato and roasted pepper…with a few sharp edges from sherry and garlic…that mingle and meld with the earthy flavors of nuts and olive oil. It’s robust, big and bold, yet it has such a fine balance of flavors and texture. —eva @myfrontburner
4 to 6
red bell peppers
hazelnuts, toasted and brown skins removed
red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
Adjust oven rack to 4 to 5 inches from heat element and preheat oven to broiler setting. Place peppers on parchment lined baking sheet and broil until skins, turning peppers occasionally until all sides charred and flesh is tender, about 20 minutes. You want your peppers to be completely charred (black) on the outside. Oven temperatures (especially broilers) vary, so be sure to keep an eye on them since some might cook faster or slower. Transfer to bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then let stand cool for 20 minutes. When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off skin and discard seeds. Strain and reserve any accumulated juices.
Meanwhile, soak ancho chile and sun-dried tomatoes in bowl covered with hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain ancho and tomatoes and pat dry with paper towel. Remove stem and seeds from ancho and discard.
Process hazelnuts and garlic in food processor until finely ground. Add the roasted peppers, ancho, sun-dried tomatoes, sherry vinegar, paprika, and red pepper flakes, ground pepper and salt to food processor with hazelnuts and process to a coarse meal. With the motor running add 1/2 cup of olive oil in a slow steady stream. Taste for seasoning.
Prepare charcoal grill (or heat gas grill to high). Set the cooking rack in place, cover the grill with the lid, and let the rack heat, about 5 minutes. Use a wire brush to scrape clean the rack.
Toss the garlic scapes in 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the scapes in a grill basket and place basket on grill over the coals. Grill, flipping and moving them around until they're soft (you'll notice they're limp when you pick them up) and charred in spots, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove them from the grill, and toss them with a little more salt.
Rub the chops with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the chops, uncovered if using charcoal and covered if using gas over the hottest part of the grill, until well browned, about 3 minutes per sides. (If the chops start to flame, drag them to the cooler part of the grill and/or extinguish the flames with a squirt bottle.) Remove the chops from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with garlic scapes and Romesco sauce.