Tomato Hater No Mo

Are you ready for this, another tomato recipe from a person who really doesn’t like tomatoes. My Tash now says I am not allowed to consider myself or call myself a tomato hater since I have now successfully made several dishes which feature tomatoes and not only do I eat them but I also like them!

The recipe tagged came from the cookbook:

The recipe tagged was for Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce and Apple Balsamic.

Because the ingredients of the romesco sauce need to meld together, the recipe recommends letting the ingredients marinate for at least 4 hours, I started to make the sauce before work. That way the ingredients were allowed to play together all day while I was working! 

I took a dried ancho chile and let it sit in a bowl of water for a half hour. Then I chopped it up roughly and added it to a bowl with toasted almonds,

for toasted almonds all you need to do is place almonds in a hot skillet and shake them around every minute or so until they start to get brown marks

Crustless sourdough bread, roma tomatoes, sherry vinegar, olive oil and a chopped red chile. I mixed, covered and refrigerated.


When I got home from work I started by making a balsamic reduction. I took balsamic vinegar, apple juice and caster sugar (which is a fine sugar) and placed it in a sauce pan over high heat for 5 minutes.


I removed the balsamic reduction from the pan and saved for later.


Then I blanched my asparagus. Blanching is when you cook something in hot water briefly and then cool it with an ice bath or cold water.  Parboiling is very similar to blanching.  When you parboil you do the same thing minus the ice bath. 


I then went back to my romesco sauce. Ingredient recess was over and now it was time to turn those ingredients left to play with each other into a sauce!  I placed the contents of the refrigerated bowl into my food processor.


I processed until combined and smooth. Then I placed the romesco sauce in a sauce pan over low heat to warm thoroughly.


I returned to asparagus. I heated a grill pan over high heat.  I tossed my asparagus in olive oil and seasoned with salt. 


I placed the asparagus in the grill pan and let it cook for 2 minutes undisturbed.  Then I rolled the spears over and let them cook another 3 minutes.


To plate I put a circle of the romesco sauce in the center of a plate. Then I topped with several spears of asparagus, a drizzle of balsamic reduction, a sprinkle of flaked sea salt and toasted almond slices. 


The Verdict: This was one tasty beautiful dish!  Our friends Geoff and Lisa happened to stop by when I was serving and enjoyed it with us.  Geoff was impressed with the sauce and I agree it had a really nice balance (must have been all that playing of the ingredients while I was busy at work!).  I served on individual plates but this could also work well on a platter for a more of a “family style” eating approach.  This is one I will be making again!  I could really see this dish really elevating the cuisine at dinner party. 

Aspargus with Romesco Sauce and Balsamic Reduction
  1. 1 dried ancho chile
  2. 16 whole almonds, toasted
  3. 1 oz of crustless sourdough bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  4. 1 ½ roma tomatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
  5. ½ TB sherry vinegar
  6. 3 TB olive oil, divided
  7. 1 small red chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
  8. 1 ¼ TB balsamic vinegar
  9. 2 TB apple juice
  10. ½ tsp caster sugar
  11. ¾ lb asparagus, woody ends removed
  12. Kosher salt
  13. Toasted sliced almonds
  14. Flaked sea salt
  1. Place ancho chile in a bowl of water for a half hour. Then remove, cut in half, deseed and cut one of the halves coarsely. Discard the other half and the seeds. Place the coarsely chopped pieces in a medium bowl along with the whole almonds, sourdough bread, tomatoes, sherry vinegar, 2 ½ TB of the olive oil and red chile. Mix, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  2. Heat a small sauce pan over high heat. Add the balsamic vinegar, apple juice and sugar. Mix and let it cook, reducing for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the balsamic reduction from heat and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot with salted water to boil. Add the asparagus and let the asparagus blanch for 2 minutes. Strain the asparagus and let the asparagus run under cold water for a few minutes. Then lay the asparagus out a paper towel to dry.
  4. Take the contents of the refrigerated bowl and place them in a food processor. Process until combined and place the romesco sauce in a small sauce pan on the stove over low heat to warm. Stir occasionally.
  5. Toss the asparagus in remaining ½ TB of oil. Season with salt and then place on a preheated grill pan over high heat. Let the asparagus cook for 2 minutes without disturbing, then roll and let cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. To plate place the romesco sauce in an oval in the center of a platter. Top with the asparagus. Pour the balsamic reduction across the asparagus and sauce. Sprinkle with toasted almond slices and flaked sea salt.
  1. Instead of serving on a platter you can divide up over 4 plates for individual servings.
  2. Caster Sugar is a super fine sugar
  3. Maldon is my go to flaked sea salt, also known as finishing salt
Adapted from Nopi
Adapted from Nopi
Cooking with Rosemary