I love using simple sauces to take a dish from plain to “wow”! I first tried Romesco sauce many years ago while enjoying tapas at a Spanish restaurant in Minneapolis, MN. When I traveled to Spain years later, I was reminded of its fresh, appealing, and slightly addictive flavor. I’ve been making it ever since.
Romesco sauce originated in the Catalan region of Spain. There are many variations across the country, with the common ingredients being roasted red peppers, garlic, paprika, and some type of nuts and vinegar. Fire-roasted peppers are commonly used for the smokey flavor they add to the sauce.
This easy-to-prepare version is based on traditional Spanish recipes but uses walnuts or hazelnuts in place of the usual almonds or pine nuts for a bit more depth of flavor. Use whichever type of nut you have available – any of them make the sauce delicious! I use jarred roasted red peppers for ease, but fire-roasting your own is a wonderful technique. Char the outside of the sweet red peppers evenly, then peel away the outer skin, slice in half to remove the seeds, then chop the peppers.
Add a dollop of the finished sauce to eggs, grilled meats, seafood, and vegetables to quickly jazz them up. Or, try spreading it on artisan bread, serving it with cheeses, or using it as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies.
Makes: approximately 2 cups of the sauce
1 cup jar roasted red peppers, patted dry and chopped (12 oz jar; no added sugar)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts (or sliced almonds)
1 cup chopped onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine or sherry vinegar
- Press the moisture out of the red peppers, blotting firmly using paper towels, then chop the peppers into large pieces.
- Place the chopped peppers, nuts, onion, garlic, and tomato into a food processor or blender. Process until almost smooth.
- Add the parsley, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, cayenne (if using), olive oil and vinegar. Process until very smooth and well combined.
- Transfer sauce to an airtight storage container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.
Main Photo by Oleksandr Prokopenko
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