Roast the tomato and the sweet red pepper over a gas flame or a charcoal grill, or set under the oven broiler, until the surface is completely blackened and cracked. Transfer to a paper bag, roll up the bag, and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes to steam.
Rinse off any dust off the chili peppers and pat dry with paper towels. Break them open and discard the tops, cores and any excess seeds. Toast the chilies for several minutes in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning them frequently, until they have changed color and become a little crisp. Transfer to a food processor, add a pinch of salt, and pulse to crumble the chilies.
Chop the blanched almonds and toasted hazelnuts and add to the food processor. Pulse with the chilies until the nuts are finely ground.
Pour 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the bread until it is crisp and dark gold on both sides. Remove and break the bread into pieces. Add to the food processor and pulse with the nuts and chilies to make a paste.
Add the garlic cloves to the skillet with a little bit more oil. Roast the garlic in the oil until golden brown. Transfer to the food processor.
Peel, seed and chop the roasted tomato and the roasted red pepper. Add to the food processor and process while you gradually add the remaining oil, a little at a time, and the vinegar -- you may not need all the vinegar, so add up to a tablespoon, then taste before adding more, remembering the flavors will develop as the sauce stands.
Let the sauce stand for 20 to 30 minutes, then serve to accompany grilled meat, fish or chicken.
NOTE: Be careful not to overprocess the sauce. It should be bound by the oil and roasted vegetables, but still have a sense of texture from the nuts and chilies.
|... an excerpt of:
"The Essential Mediterranean" (Harper Collins)
click on the cover to see it at Amazon.com
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Reprinted with permission.