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.
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 20 M
- Makes about 2 cups
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.
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.
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.
Slice the remaining loaf of bread, allowing 1 to 2 pieces per person, and grill or toast until lightly browned. Serve with the romesco.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This smoky, spicy and garlicky sauce was fantastic with every item on our dinner plates: we smothered it on lamb chops, put dollops on roasted potatoes, and dipped grilled asparagus in it. Yes, there are quite a few ingredients, and there’s a lot of prep work involved for just two cups of sauce, but I did some online research and have good news for us all: romesco sauce keeps well in the freezer, for up to three months. Make a lot, and divvy it up for later use; it’s worth the trouble. In my own romesco, I used ancho chile peppers, a jalapeño pepper, hazelnuts, and smoked paprika.
Don’t ask any questions, just double the recipe! Oh, and have extra bread and spoons on-hand. This “elixir” is pure heaven—not only good as a dip, a spread, and straight from the spoon, but it’s wonderful on grilled fish or chicken, isn’t too bad on pasta, and you can even add a few spoonfuls to a pot of soup (your guests will wonder what the secret ingredient is). I feel that canned tomatoes work better than fresh, simply because of the uniformity you get with canned. Make the romesco a little thick to begin with; you can always thin it later if necessary. When working with hot peppers, garlic and paprika, I like to follow the recipe exactly at first to get an idea of the level of spice or heat. I’d suggest using the jalapeño with the cayenne, unless you like more heat. The red wine vinegar is better with the smoky sweetness of the peppers.