RECIPES:
Jan 12, 2018

Romesco

Romesco is an easy dip made from roasted red pepper and almonds.

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Romesco Sauce

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.

Key Ingredients in Romesco

Bell pepper

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.

Almonds

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.

Olive oil

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.

Tomato paste

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.

Red wine vinegar

The red wine vinegar adds a bit of acid to the recipe to balance the flavors of the recipe.

Seasonings

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.

bright orange blended Catalan romesco sauce in blender

How to make this recipe

  1. Combine ingredients. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor fitted with a blade attachment.
  2. Make the sauce. Blend, occasionally scraping down the sides occasionally, until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Store. Add the romesco to a bowl and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The dip can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.

Uses for romesco

  • Serve with cut vegetables as a crudité or bread as a dip.
  • Use as a pasta sauce blended with a touch of cream. I like serving it over potato gnocchi.
  • Spread on sandwiches or wraps in place of hummus or mayonnaise.
  • Use as a base for roasted vegetables like in this cauliflower with romesco and crispy chickpeas.

Romesco

Red pepper and almond creamy romesco spread with crudite
Print Pin
Serves 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 canned oil-packed fire-roasted red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend, occasionally scraping down the sides occasionally, until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the romesco to a bowl and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with assorted raw vegetables or spread on bread.

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