Romesco sauce has its origins in the region of Catalonia in Spain. The fishermen in this area made this sauce to eat with fish. I think asparagus and Romesco is a wonderful match.
1kg asparagus, woody bases trimmed
60ml balsamic vinegar
100ml apple juice
2 teaspoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
10 grams dried Kashmiri chilli (cut into smaller pieces & deseeded) soaked in water for 30 minutes
40 grams whole almonds, toasted
50 grams crust less sourdough bread, cut into 3cm cubes
200 grams plum tomatoes cut into 2cm wedges
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
25ml olive oil
1 medium sized fresh red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
Place all ingredients for Romesco sauce in a small bowl along with a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well, then leave in refrigerator to marinate for 4 hours or overnight preferably. Transfer to a bowl of a food processor and make a puree. Place in a small saucepan and warm through just before serving.
Blanch asparagus for 1-2 minutes. Refresh with cold water, strain, cover and set aside.
Place balsamic vinegar, apple juice and caster sugar in a small pan on high heat, Cook for 4-5 minutes until it has reduced by half and is thick.
Place a ridged griddle pan on high heat. Toss asparagus with olive oil and salt. Do not overcrowd the pan as you do not want them to sweat. Chargrill for a minute on each side.
Spread Romesco sauce in individual plates. Place asparagus on top. Drizzle the balsamic reduction. Sprinkle over the flaked, toasted almonds. Serves 6 as a starter.