Spanish Romesco Sauce

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Okay, so I’m sort of old for this acronym, but OMG OMG OMG! Have you ever had Romesco sauce? I had it for the first time recently and nearly fell off my chair. Where has this sauce been my whole life? It’s a Spanish sauce, and sort of like pesto, but made with tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, garlic, and nuts. You can serve it over practically anything, from shrimp to chicken to vegetables. I’ve been making it just to eat plain, like a dip with crackers. Or I put a dollop over baby potatoes. Or I just sneak a spoonful out of the refrigerator for a snack.

Trust me. This one is good.

Like so many regional dishes, Romesco has a gazillion varieties. We’ve linked to a few from other food bloggers at the bottom of the recipe. Our version incorporates smoked paprika, to give a slight smokiness to the flavor of the sauce. Smoked paprika, also known as pimenton, is becoming more and more available in supermarkets, but if you can’t find any, just use regular paprika.

Spanish Romesco Sauce Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped or slivered (can substitute hazelnuts, peeled)
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, or canned whole tomatoes (including the juice) that have been de-seeded, or 1 pound fresh tomatoes that have been par-boiled, skins removed, and de-seeded
  • 1 8-ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika (preferred) or sweet paprika
  • 2-3 Tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the bread and almonds, stirring often, until they just begin to brown. Add the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, stirring once or twice.

2 Place the contents of the sauté pan into a food processor with the remaining ingredients—salt, tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, smoked paprika, vinegar. Purée until smooth. Spread the sauce out on a rimmed sheet pan and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges begin to caramelize. Allow to cool and scrape into a container to store.

To use romesco sauce, mix with pasta, shrimp, chicken or vegetables either before or after they are cooked, much like you would a pesto.

Kept in a sealed container, Romesco sauce will last for a week or more in the fridge. It freezes well, too.

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Links:

Romesco Potatoes - from Smitten Kitchen
Salmon with Basil Romesco" - from The Nourishing Gourmet
Artichokes with Romesco Sauce - from Slashfood
Romesco Sauce from Kim O'Donnel out of her The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour

romesco-shrimp.jpg
Little pink shrimp with Romesco sauce and chopped fresh parsley.

Showing 4 of 53 Comments

  • dana

    I love this recipe, and have made it many times, most recently yesterday, when I mixed it with whole wheat fusilli and some caramelized onions to bring to a party. Everyone really liked it – thanks again!

  • candace Jurado

    I am in love this version of romesco! I made your roasted chicken and carrots recipe for dinner and am using the left-over meat to make sandwiches slathered in romesco with provolone cheese, arugula, and avocado! Yum! Suzanne Goin also has a different version of this recipe in her cookbook Sunday Suppers At Luques in which Ancho chilies are used in place of the roasted red peppers, she adds parsley and lemon juice, it makes a spicier version that is perfect on roasted potatoes and eggs! I will enjoy having both versions in my recipe quiver indefinitely!

  • Patricia

    I make your romescu recipe every week, and if it was up to my husband even more often. He’s from Barcelona and when I tried it first he liked it but he said it was not the same. I kept making it until I got the hang of it and now is a must on our table. All of my friends have asked for the recipe every time I take it to a party. And now even my mother in law, who is also from Barcelona! THANK YOU!

  • susan

    FYI Italian Romanesco Sauce has anchovies in it, whereas this one doesn’t. The Italian one is to die for. Maybe I’ll add anchovies, heh?

  • Noelle

    Wow! This is amazing! I can’t believe how delicious this sauce is, yum!!
    I made a slight change that was accidental but i couldn’t imagine it any other way… I thought I had roasted red peppers but I actually had hot, sweet piquante peppers (small, round, red peppers in a jar). Not super spicy but had a little heat. I think they complimented the dish wonderfully!
    thanks for this great recipe!

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