The Sauce: Romesco Sauce – Traditional sauce made with almonds and golden bread with red peppers, tomatoes and served with roasted vegetables and grilled fish.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Romance your vegetables
Romesco sounds romantic. A creation from the Catalonia region of Spain, its formula generally includes almonds and bread. Almonds are pan tossed and toasted to enhance their nutty flavor, plus they lend texture to the sauce.
It’s the special treatment of bread in this recipe that creates an added layer of flavor. Most Romesco’s are made with stale bread pulverized into the sauce for body. Here, bread slices are pan fried to a crisp, golden brown in extra virgin olive oil. Look, you’re going to add the olive oil to the sauce anyway, why not use it to increase the flavor and complexity. It’s another step but, no worries, we reuse the same saucepan for all four steps: almonds, peppers, bread and tomatoes.
If you’re new to Romesco Sauce you might be wondering, why add another sauce to your repertoire? Grilled or wok cooked vegetables like green beans, asparagus are extra dressy and beautiful with Romesco. The rustic, complex flavors are especially good on roasted red potatoes. And don’t overlook it on oven roasted French Fries. It’s also lovely on grilled fish.
Recipe: Romesco Sauce
Active Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 20 Minutes | Yield: 2 Cups
1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 dried dried Hatch large red chili pepper, snipped in small pieces
1/2 dried red chili pepper, snipped in small pieces
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 slices crusty artisan bread, 1/2-inch thick
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
Special Equipment – medium skillet, large plate, blender or food processor
1 Place almonds into a medium skillet on medium high heat and cook until the edges turn golden shaking frequently, 2-3 minutes. Don’t walk away as this can burn quickly. Pour on a large plate to cool.
2 Place water, red wine vinegar and peppers in the same skillet. Bring to boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove peppers with slotted spoon to the plate with almonds, leaving behind liquid and seeds.
3 Dry off the skillet with a paper towel, then heat 1/4 cup olive oil to medium high heat. Brown the bread until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove to the large plate.
4 In the same oil sauté the tomato for 3 minutes on medium heat.
5 Place almonds, peppers, tomatoes with oil, garlic and remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil in a blender or food processor. Break bread in small pieces dropping into the blender. Pulse until almost smooth. Season with salt to taste.
To peel a fresh tomato, fill a small saucepan with water and bring to boil while the peppers are cooking. Make a cross hatch in the bottom of the tomato. Submerge the tomato in the boiling water and blanch for 30-45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and the skin will peel off easily.
Make this sauce while potatoes are roasting. To make roasted red potatoes with crispy outsides and tender insides, click here for the recipe. Omit the rosemary and garlic. Serve with Romesco Sauce.
Serve on grilled tuna, roasted potatoes, green beans or asparagus.
In Catalonia, Spain Calcots, a spring onion similar to scallions, are roasted until the outer layer is charred, then peeled away. The tender onions are dipped in fresh Romesco Sauce.
- Exchange Hatch for large dried ancho, pasilla or Anaheim peppers.
- Exchange artisan bread for french or Italian.
- Exchange a fresh tomato for a canned tomato, especially when tomatoes aren’t in season. In this case there is no need to sauté it.
Inspiration – Penelope Casas
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Recipe Tester for The Washington Post
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: May 1, 2014