Romesco is an easy Spanish sauce made from roasted red pepper and almonds specifically from Catalonia. While it often includes roasted bread, I forgo the bread for this gluten-free version of the spread. Since it’s a simple sauce I recommend choosing high quality ingredients so the flavors can really shine.
While it was actually created by fisherman to serve alongside seafood there are many uses for this romesco sauce recipe. It makes a great dip for raw veggies or bread, as a pasta sauce especially when blended with a touch of cream. Use as a spread on sandwiches or even paired in a dish like this cauliflower with romesco and crispy chickpeas.
Fire-roasted bell peppers add a bit of smokiness to this recipe. I buy jarred fire-roasted bell peppers because it cuts down on prep time though you could make them yourself. Char the peppers over a gas flame then set in a brown bag for about 10 minutes and peel away the skin. Remove the stem and seeds and discard then use as you would the jarred peppers.
The almonds are used to both thicken the romesco and add a nutty flavor. The sauce almost always includes almonds though sometimes hazelnuts or pine nuts are used as well.
Extra-virgin olive oil is what makes this recipe creamy. As it blends it emulsifies with the nuts and other ingredients to create a rich mix that can be used as a dip or a sauce.
Adding concentrated tomato paste gives the Romesco a depth of flavor. Rather than buying the cans I always buy the tubes of tomato paste. In most recipes only a small amount is used to the tube allows you to reseal and store in the refrigerator until the next time you need it without taking up too much space.
The red wine vinegar adds a bit of acid to the recipe to balance the flavors of the recipe.
The almond and red pepper dip is enhanced with smoked paprika and cayenne to enhance the smoky flavor and add a bit of spice. The dip is then seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.
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