Romesco sauce originates from Tarragona, in Northeastern Spain. It is said that the fishermen of the area made it in a mortar and pestle to eat with the local catch of the day. Yet while it is great with seafood, it is a very tasty sauce to accompany meat and vegetables as well and is a popular sauce in Spain (though extremely popular in the Catalonia region). Roasted red peppers combine with ground almonds, olive oil and vinegar to make a smooth, rich and nutty sauce that tastes great even simply spread on a slice of rustic bread.
- 12 blanched almonds or almond slivers
- 10-12 hazelnuts, skins removed
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 slice stale bread
- 2 ripe medium size tomatoes, or 1 large tomato
- 2 large roasted red peppers, well-drained (in Spain ñora peppers are often used)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine or sherry vinegar (approximately)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or a small hot pepper (optional)
Note: Add approximately 15 minutes to preparation time if blanching almonds.
This romesco sauce recipe makes about two cups of sauce.
Begin by roasting the garlic. Preheat the oven to 300°F. First, rub off excess dry skin from the garlic head. Then place it on a baking sheet and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top. Roast the garlic in the oven (or toaster oven) for 20 minutes at 300°F degrees or until the garlic on the inside is roasted and soft.
If almonds are not already blanched: While the garlic is roasting, blanch almonds, then peel. For easy step-by-step instructions on blanching almonds, read About.com Greek Food Guide's, How to Make Blanched Almonds.
Make sure that the almonds are completely dry after blanching. Place almonds and hazelnuts into a food processor and process until finely ground.
Pour a few tablespoons of virgin olive oil into a small frying pan and quickly fry the stale bread until both sides are browned. It should be the texture of a crouton. Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a plate or paper towel.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters and sauté them in the same pan, adding oil if needed. Sauté for 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
Once the bread is cooled, tear it into six pieces and process it with the nuts. Add the sautéed tomatoes and continue to process. Squeeze roasted garlic from the skins into the processor. Place roasted red peppers into the processor with the other ingredients and process until ingredients are a thick puree.
While processor is running, slowly drizzle in the oil and vinegar. Add salt to taste.
Serve with meat, fish, poultry or vegetables.
Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Watch a video recipe: How to Make Spanish Romesco Sauce with Chef John Mitzewich.