Manchego is a hard sheep’s milk cheese from the region of La Mancha in Spain. It has an almost unique flavour – zesty, nutty and fruity all at once with a slightly crumbly texture. It does melt well, although due to its somewhat grainy texture, it works well if you blend it with a semi-soft cheese like Mahon from Menorca if you can find it, and either Taleggio or even Provolone if not.
You can stir a little of the romesco sauce into the pot once ready to serve, but the sauce works easily as well as a side dish. Serve it with a selection of your favourite tapas such as charcuterie, squares of tortilla, crusty bread and a tomato salad.
250 g Manchego, grated
250 g Mahon, Taleggio or Provolone, grated
2 teaspoons cornflour
175 ml Spanish white wine, such as Albariño
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
A mixed platter of Spanish charcuterie, tortilla cubes, bread and a tomato salad, to serve
QUICK ROMESCO SAUCE
75 g roasted salted almonds, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
75 g roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, drained
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon caster/granulated sugar
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon espelette or cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
First make the romesco sauce. Place all the ingredients into a small food processor and blend together until really smooth. Adjust seasonings and store in a screw-top jar until required.
Combine the cheeses in a bowl and add a little pepper, stir well. Blend the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of the wine and set aside.
Heat the remaining wine in your fondue pot on the stovetop until boiling. Gradually add the cheeses, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbling. Stir in the cornflour and sherry vinegar and cook for about 2 minutes until thickened.
If you like, stir a couple of tablespoons of the romesco into the fondue now. Alternatively transfer the pot to your tabletop burner and arrange the charcuterie, bread, tortilla cubes and tomato salad on platters and serve with small bowls of romesco sauce.