Roasted asparagus with Romesco is one of spring and summer’s greatest and easiest pleasures. Go on. See for yourself.
This roasted asparagus with romesco recipe proves that everything is better with dip. The Spanish-inspired sauce is a combination of peppers, tomatoes, and, in a contemporary riff on the classic, almond butter, that makes an earthy, slightly spicy, and magnificent match for roasted asparagus.–Angie Zoobkoff
HOW TO USE LEFTOVER ROMESCO
This recipe makes more romesco sauce than you’ll need for the roasted asparagus. And trust us, this is a good thing. A very good thing. The creamy dip is a spectacularly simple and effortless way to liven up countless things when you’re lacking ingredients or time or both. We’ve listed a few ideas although we’d love to hear what you did with your extra sauce. Just let us know in a comment below.
- Relied on as a dip for grilled vegetables (especially charred spring onions!)
- Spread on sandwiches
- Drizzled onto simply broiled or seared or grilled seafood, poultry, or meat
- Tossed with warm pasta
Roasted Asparagus with Romesco
For the romesco sauce
- 1 dried guajillo chile or ñora chile stemmed and seeded
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained and blotted dry if they are packed in oil
- 1/4 cup roasted piquillo or red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
- 2/3 cup chunky roasted almond butter
- 3/4 cup olive oil
For the asparagus
- 2 pounds large asparagus (about 2 bunches) bottom 2 inches (5 cm) trimmed off
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the oven
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Make the romesco sauce
- Place the chile and tomatoes in a medium bowl and cover with 1/3 cup warm water. Allow them to sit for 15 minutes, or until they feel pliable and rehydrated. If the chile and tomatoes don’t feel softened and pliable after 15 minutes, go ahead and transfer them and their soaking liquid to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat and simmer until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Toss the chiles and tomatoes with their soaking liquid, the piquillo peppers, vinegar, salt, and paprika into a food processor and blend until combined. Add the almond butter and oil and process until smooth. With processor running, drizzle in more oil as needed to reach the consistency you desire.
Roast the asparagus
- On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange the spears in a single layer. Drizzle them with the oil, season with salt and black pepper, and roast until they start to sizzle and brown, 10 to 18 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus spears and just how charred you like your vegetables.
- Serve the romesco in a small bowl with a drizzle of olive oil on top and the asparagus on the side for dipping.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I was happy to try this recipe with some lovely local asparagus I’d picked up from my farmers market. Although I’ve enjoyed romesco at restaurants, I’ve only made it once before, and this recipe compared favorably. It had a nice creamy texture (I did not end up using additional olive oil), and the piquillo peppers, almond, and olive oil were nicely highlighted. I think I would have liked a little more of the smoked paprika and the guajillo chile to come through, so I might slightly increase those ingredients next time. To soften the guajillo chile adequately, I ended up putting it in a small pot on the stove and simmering it for another 5 to 6 minutes, as the initial 15 minutes submerged in hot water didn’t make it quite supple enough. I’d also suggest submerging the chile in more than a 1/3 cup of water for thorough coverage. When it came time to throw everything in the food processor, I measured out the designated 1/3 cup of water and discarded the rest. I enjoyed the romesco both with the roasted asparagus and a petit filet. A slightly sour barrel-aged beer paired nicely. Great Sunday meal that felt like a special treat!
Delicious romesco sauce that’s versatile enough to serve with roasted or grilled vegetables, thinly layered on grilled baguette slices, or over seafood. I roasted asparagus to go with it, then some scallions and sliced eggplants. All lovely and the romesco prodded us to try making almond butter at home, which worked perfectly. I had recently roasted red bell peppers, but made a point of seeking out some real Spanish piquillo peppers and I think they are worth it, with a distinctive flavour and texture. I used Spanish sherry vinagre de Jerez, smoky semi sweet pimenton and a California Arbequina olive oil. My guajillo was leathery, and with soaking, quite pliant, and I think this is one ingredient you might adjust, maybe using a whole one if you want a little more chile presence. I did not chop it, leaving the half piece to be demolished by the food processor, and with a couple of pulses and short processing it all blended well. I added an extra 1/8 cup olive oil with a resulting sauce that was firm enough to hold shape. If you want a more pourable sauce you could add more. My yield was about 3 half-pints, one of which I shared with a lucky friend.
After roasting 1 bunch of asparagus for the 2 of us, I followed with grilled scallions (I loved these!) and a couple of small eggplants that I’d sliced and grilled. This made a great weeknight veggie meal and would be a perfect party trick for summer entertaining. You can make the sauce ahead and the roasting or grilling of vegetables is an easy thing to do with your guests. I did not try blanching the asparagus, but I think that would work well, too, giving you a firmer vegetable that you could pick up and dip. Since the sauce gives you enough for 6 to 8 servings, I look forward to serving it with other things, including potatoes, cauliflower, even fish. I think my spouse is hoping to see a grilled eggplant sandwich with some romesco!
Originally published August 11, 2017