Romesco is a traditional Spanish sauce created in the 15th century by fishermen in Tarragona, Catalonia. It was originally concocted to pair with fish and seafood, but it is so versatile it pairs well with almost anything - as a dip for crusty grilled bread, sweet potato fries, raw carrots, celery, radishes; as a sauce atop grilled, roasted or sautéed vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes and mushrooms; as a spread for sandwiches and wraps; as a creamy dressing for salads or pasta sauce... the possibilities are endless! It packs a lot of flavor and health benefits, thanks to its wholesome ingredients: red bell peppers contain lots of fiber, vitamins A and C, almonds are rich in healthy oils, folate, potassium and antioxidants, and garlic is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral.
This recipe uses smoked almonds, but you can swap it for regular roasted almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts… Apple cider vinegar can be used in lieu of the sherry vinegar if you don’t have it on hand.. And you can certainly use store-bought roasted peppers, but the homemade version is fresher and tastes much better. I added instructions on how to roast them at home at the bottom of the recipe.
What would you eat your romesco sauce with? Please share it in the comments, I would love to know. Enjoy!
SMOKED ALMOND ROMESCO SAUCE
(adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)
• ⅓ cup smoked almonds
• 1-2 slices of sourdough boule, cubed (or 3 inch baguette)
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 cup chopped roasted tomatoes, canned and drained
• 1 small roasted organic bell pepper (instructions below)
• 2 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
• ½ cup organic extra virgin olive oil
• pink or smoked sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
• cayenne, harissa or hot smoked paprika to taste, optional
In a food processor, coarsely chop together the almonds, bread and garlic. Add tomatoes, roasted pepper, vinegar and smoked paprika, pureeing all together until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly and gradually pour in the oil until well blended. Adjust seasoning, adding sea salt, black pepper and cayenne if needed. Allow to rest at room temperature (you can cover with a cloth) before serving, or refrigerate if needed for later.
HOW TO ROAST BELL PEPERS: Wash, dry and roast your bell pepper over an open flame, safely turning with tongs to get all sides charred. Remove from heat and let it rest in a bowl, covering with a cloth or plastic wrap so it sweats and peels easily. Once cool enough to handle, peel of the burnt skin, remove and discard stems and seeds and cut up pepper in small pieces. An alternative way of roasting peppers if you don’t have a gas stovetop at home is to do it in the oven or grill. Slice the washed raw pepper in half, remove seeds and stems, brush or drizzle with olive oil and grill or oven roast in high heat until the skin becomes charred and wrinkled.