A versatile sauce from Spain for everything from fish to vegetables.
Romesco has many variations, but roasted peppers, garlic, and nuts are at the heart of the sauce. Some recipes call for roasted tomatoes, some include torn pieces of bread. The following recipe features almonds as the sauce thickener, but walnuts and hazelnuts work equally well. Sherry vinegar and smokey paprika (pimenton) are the stars, giving the sauce its seductive nuance and depth of flavor. Red bell peppers are classic, but there is no prohibition against using orange or yellow peppers to change the color.
2 large red bell peppers 3 garlic cloves
½ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon smokey paprika
pinch of kosher salt kosher salt
¼ cup parsley leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 450F and line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Slice the peppers in half and remove the ribs and seeds. Place the peppers flesh side-down and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the skins are charred and the flesh is wilted. Remove and discards the skins.
ILOC tip: halving the peppers before roasting is a much cleaner, more efficient and expeditious way to work. Roasting the peppers whole will yield equally desirable flesh, but removing the ribs and seeds once roasted is a wet, messy, cumbersome process. It's all about technique, not torture!
3. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
ILOC tip: be sure to use smokey - not sweet - paprika in order to impart a distinctive and complex depth of flavor. Sweet paprika simply will not provide the same flavor profiles, and the resulting sauce will be less interesting.
4. Serve immediately with roasted vegetables, fish, chicken, crudités etc., or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes approximately 2 cups.