Updated 05/19/2012 05:00 AM
Recipe: Roasted Asparagus with Romesco and Goat Cheese Croutons
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2-3 dozen spears asparagus
salt and pepper to taste
4 1-inch thick slices country bread
olive oil as needed for brushing bread
For the Romesco:
1 small to medium clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup canned diced tomato, well drained
1/4 cup whole almonds (or 2-3 Tbs sliced almonds)
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, well drained
2 Tbs Sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil (plus more as needed)
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 - 1/3 cup parsley leaves
approx. 3/4 cup toasted bread croutons
approx. 2-3 ounces goat cheese (room temperature)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees a good bit ahead of time.
Cut four 1-inch thick slices of country bread and brush both sides of those with olive oil, place them onto a baking tray and pop the tray into the preheated oven.
Next, cut the bottom tougher 2-3 inches off of the asparagus, place the tops onto a baking tray, and then drizzle those with olive oil, sprinkle on a little salt and black pepper and place that tray into the oven as well.
While you're keeping your eye on those things, use a food processor to make the Romesco by adding one medium, peeled clove of garlic, 1/4 cup diced, well drained canned tomatoes, 1/4 cup whole toasted almonds, 1/2 cup well drained jarred roasted red peppers, 2 Tbs sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, 2 Tbs olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a small handful of parsley leaves and puree everything until it is nice and smooth.
Pull the bread and asparagus out of the oven as they are done. The toast should be nice and crunchy and the asparagus should be cooked through but not too soft.
Cut one piece (or 1/2 piece) of toasted bread into croutons (you'll need about 3/4 cup) add that to the food processor and puree that until it is nice and smooth, adding more olive oil if you need to for a loose puree.
Spread the room temperature goat cheese onto the remaining slices of toasted bread and cut those into bite size croutons, and it is time to eat.
Spoon the Romesco onto plates, top with some roasted asparagus and goat cheese croutons and finish with a little olive oil around the plate.
Romesco also makes a great topping for simply cooked chicken, pork or seafood.