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Basics
apr 17, 2020

Romesco Sauce

Romesco, bright with peppers, garlic and a splash of vinegar, originated in a fishing village in Catalonia, Spain, where it is still served alongside the fresh Mediterranean catch. This is a sauce you want in your repertoire, to use throughout the week to dress up vegetables, meats, and grains.
Here are some ideas for incorporating Romesco into your meal plan:
  • Spread it on bread to liven up sandwiches. Keep it simple with grilled cheese, or take it up a notch and add jamon Serrano.
  • Snack on it as a dip for crudités, steamed artichokes, or Camila’s Potato Wedges.
  • Spread on a plate as a base for spring farro salad with asparagus and shaved radishes.
  • Serve as a compliment to any grilled or roasted vegetable, meat or fish.
You can make this sauce year round using jarred roasted red peppers, or roast your own when you’re up to your ears with a hot summer’s bounty. We’ve given you 2 recipes to try below. If you are up for a deep dive adventure from Jeremy Fox’s outstanding cookbook On Vegetables, soak your own chiles & roast your own peppers. Or for a quicker take, try chef Frances’ Simplified Romesco. It’s also very, very good.
Before you start preparing your Romesco, take a moment to imagine yourself cooking seaside on the Costa Brava -- fling open a sunny window, close your eyes, breathe in, and savor the daydream of future trips to the delicious Mediterranean shores of Spain.
As always, we’re here to help! Please get in touch and Email us if you have any questions.
Recipe

Jeremy’s Romesco Sauce

Author Jeremy Fox, in his book On Vegetables

In Spain, this sauce is made with roasted tomatoes and ñora chiles, which can be difficult to source in the U.S. This recipe calls instead for guajillo chiles, the dried form of mirasol chiles. They have a nuanced, fruity flavor with mild heat, giving this romesco more depth than one using only red bell peppers.

Yield   1½ cups

Ingredients

2 oz dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

8 oz (about 2 medium sized) raw red bell peppers

2 oz skinned hazelnuts

4 oz whole peeled canned tomatoes, drained

¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for storing

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

Directions

Make some guajillo paste*:
Soak the chilies in warm water until they soften, 1 to 2 hours. Transfer the chilies to a blender along with a generous ¼ cup of the soaking water and blend, on low speed at first and gradually raising it to high speed, until smooth.
Roast the red peppers:
Place the peppers directly over a gas flame on the stove. Turn them occasionally with tongs to ensure even cooking, and roast until their skins blister and turn black all over. (If the skin turns gray, the pepper has over cooked.)
If you don’t have a gas range, place the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast them in a 500℉ oven until the skins blister and loosen (about 25 minutes), or place them under a broiler, turning them to blacken each side. A blowtorch works well, too.
When the peppers are evenly roasted, immediately transfer them to a container, tightly cover, and let them steam for 20 minutes. Remove the skins with your hands, rubbing with a paper towel if needed. Don't rinse them; this would wash away much of their flavor. Remove and discard the seeds & stems.
Make the romesco:
In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Transfer them to a large bowl.
Pulse the peeled peppers and tomatoes in the food processor to make a course purée. Add the purée to the bowl with the nuts, then fold in the guajillo paste, olive oil, garlic, vinegar and paprika. Season with 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt, plus more to taste if needed. The final sauce should be rough in texture.
Store it, covered with a layer of olive oil, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Notes

*The guajillo paste can be made hours, or even days, in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
Recipe

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

(Simplified Romesco)

Author Frances Wilson

Yield   About 1 cup

Ingredients

⅓ cup whole unsalted almonds

2 large red bell peppers, roasted and peeled* OR one (12-oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne or other hot pepper

Splash of sherry vinegar

Salt

Directions

Pulse the almonds in a blender or mini food processor until chopped. Add the roasted peppers, and blend into a chunky paste. Don't process it for too long; you don't want a smooth purée.
Empty the blender contents into a bowl, and stir in the olive oil, paprika, cayenne, sherry vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Notes

*Place the peppers directly over a gas flame on the stove. Turn them occasionally with tongs to ensure even cooking, and roast until their skins blister and turn black all over. (If the skin turns gray, the pepper has over cooked.)
If you don’t have a gas range, place the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast them in a 500℉ oven until the skins blister and loosen (about 25 minutes), or place them under a broiler, turning them to blacken each side. A blowtorch works well, too.
When the peppers are evenly roasted, immediately transfer them to a container, tightly cover, and let them steam for 20 minutes. Remove the skins with your hands, rubbing with a paper towel if needed. Don't rinse them; this would wash away much of their flavor. Remove and discard the seeds & stems.