Mary Beth Clark

Culinary Educator · Consultant · Author

How To Make Spanish Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce is a classic Spanish sauce made with a base of bread, almonds, red peppers, and tomatoes. These base ingredients are lightly toasted, roasted, or charred to intensify them and create an underlying smoky flavor. Two different ground dried peppers season the sauce. Marcona skinless almonds, wood-fired roasted piquillo peppers from Lodosa, and smoked sweet and/or hot paprika reward you with superb Romesco Sauce, so order them on-line if not available at your local specialty food store.

Puree to a slightly chunky texture with creamy under-base or puree to a thick creamy-smooth texture. Often served with paella, try it with grilled and roasted ingredients, too, including steak, chicken, pork chops, lamb chops, cod, halibut, salmon, shrimp, snapper, eggplant, cauliflower, or whatever you love.

The base is:
* Bread or panko and peeled almonds (for paleo, use only almonds)
* Piquillo red peppers or sweet red bell peppers (roast your own or purchase already roasted)
* Tomatoes
* Flavorings of garlic, dried chili pepper, salt, pepper
* Liquid of sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil

Before serving Romesco Sauce, refrigerate overnight to allow enough time for flavors to blossom then blend together. This sauce is so good, complementing so many different ingredients and dishes, make a large batch and store it in your refrigerator up to 10 days.

Makes 2 cups (473 ml) sauce.

1 cup (1 ounce or 28 g) dried white or wholewheat bread cubes with/out crusts, or panko
1/4 cup (1.5 ounces or 43 g) whole skinned lightly roasted Marcona almonds or other almonds
4 medium wood-fired roasted Piquillo peppers or sweet red bell peppers (6 ounces or 170 g each); (makes 1 1/3 cups or 315 ml roasted pureed pulp)
12 ounces (340 g) ripe red tomatoes; (makes 1 cup or 237 ml roasted pureed pulp)
1 small whole garlic clove
2 to 4 teaspoons (10 to 20 ml) sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or to taste
4 teaspoons (20 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon (3.5 g) smoked sweet and/or hot paprika or to taste
Ground Piment d' Espelette Basque pepper or red cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C/Gas Mark 4. In separate baking containers or areas on a baking sheet, toast the bread or panko and the almonds (if not already lightly roasted) until golden, remove, cool.
For raw, fresh peppers and tomatoes: Remove the stems from the peppers and tomatoes but leave them whole, do not slice. Roast the peppers until they swell and smell fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes. Roast the tomatoes until they swell and slightly burst, about 10 minutes.
Roast the whole garlic clove until fragrant but not browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool down. Slip-off the skins from the peppers and tomatoes. Remove seeds from the peppers. Remove tomato seeds or not. Remove garlic skin.

2. Using a food processor or blender, process the bread cubes and almonds until finely ground. Add the roasted pepper pulp, tomato pulp, and roasted garlic, and puree until almost smooth. Pour in the vinegar and olive oil and puree to emulsify. Add the smoked paprika, Piment d' Espelette pepper or cayenne pepper, and salt to taste. Puree to blend.

Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blossom. Romesco Sauce continues to taste great up to 10 days stored in the refrigerator. Before serving, taste and adjust seasonings if needed by adding drops of vinegar, smoked paprika, cayenne, and salt to taste.


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