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Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce is simply an almond, garlic, and roasted pepper-scented puree that hails from Catalan, in the northeastern part of Spain along the Mediterranean coast. It’s a classic. [Editor's Note: A vegan classic.] You can spread it on grilled bread, use it as a dip for roasted or grilled vegetables, or eat it right from the spoon.–Kim O’Donnel

Author's Pick a Peppa' Note

Ancho chiles are dried poblanos, which will yield a sweeter, almost raisin-y Romesca sauce; fresh roasted poblanos will deliver more smoke. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the peppers listed in the ingredients below. If red bell peppers are all you have, this elixir, er sauce, will still make you swoon.

Romesco Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • A 1-pound loaf country-style bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
  • 3 dried ancho chile peppers, soaked for 1 hour, drained, seeded, and roughly chopped, or 2 fresh poblano chile peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded (either pepper is optional, but makes a really nice addition to the resulting sauce)
  • 1/2- to 1-inch piece fresh serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup almonds and/or hazelnuts, roasted
  • 2 to 3 plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded (I use canned whole plum tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (this, too, is optional, although it’s particularly useful in the absence of the optional ancho or poblano chile peppers)

Directions

  • 1. In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Cut a 1-inch-thick slice from the loaf of bread, trim the crusts from the slice, and toss it in the skillet. Let it sizzle until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Set the rest of the loaf aside.
  • 2. In a food processor, pulse all of the bell and chile and hot peppers along with the garlic, nuts, and the fried bread slice. Pulse until combined but still chunky.
  • 3. Add the tomatoes and pulse to combine. Then add the remaining oil and vinegar and pulse. The mixture will emulsify quickly. Add the salt, cayenne, and smoked paprika, if using. The romesco sauce should be thick but also have a slightly viscous quality. If it seems on the thick side, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Taste for salt and heat and acid and season accordingly. You can cover and refrigerate the romesco for up to 5 days. It just gets better and better with every day the flavors are allowed to meld.
  • 4. Slice the remaining loaf of bread, allowing 1 to 2 pieces per person, and grill or toast until lightly browned. Serve with the romesco.
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