Romesco is a perfectly delicious roasted tomato and sweet pepper sauce originating from the Catalonia region in northeastern Spain. It’s amazing all by itself, but it’s typically served as a perfect complement to grilled fish. We also use it to accompany grilled meat or poultry and we also love it over veggies, or as a pasta sauce, especially over fettuccine! It even makes a great dip for pita chips.
There are many variations on this sauce from mild to a bit spicy, and some like to add a little heat. Some Romesco sauce recipes call for chili powder, and when we do add it (which we usually don’t), we like to use New Mexico chili powder, to keep it a bit more on the mild side, but we also love it without chili powder and just more paprika. We use two kinds of paprika: Spanish (or smoked), and the regular sweet paprika you find in the spice section.
The type of nut you use can vary, but they are what give the sauce the signature texture and thickness. We usually use toasted, slivered (unsalted) almonds, but pine nuts or even hazelnuts work well. We use Trader Joe’s pre-toasted slivered almonds to save a bit of time:)
You can either roast your tomatoes and peppers in the oven, or on the grill. We roast our veggies on the barbecue, because we love that flavor. Be sure to use whatever juices you have from the roasting pan in the sauce, too. Then the veggies are pureed with almonds and seasoned with two kinds of paprika, parsley, fresh garlic and then finished off with lemon juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil.
The sauce stores well in the refrigerator for a week in an air-tight container. So, what the heck? Why not double the recipe while you’re at it? You won’t regret it, we promise!👩🍳
- 1 large 1 large orange bell pepper stem and seeds removed, then quartered
- 2 large tomatoes, quartered or about 25 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted to golden brown can buy these pre-toasted at Trader Joe’s
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves, stems removed
- 2 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. Spanish paprika (also called smoked paprika)
- 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika (the kind you find in the spice section)
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat or the oven to 400° F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. We like to use an aluminum pan so we can use it right on the barbecue. But, you can also use a glass, metal or ceramic baking dish if you plan to roast your veggies in the oven.
- Place the tomatoes and peppers in the prepared pan and toss them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Place the pan directly on the grill and cook the veggies for about 5 minutes per side. Flip them with a spatula halfway through. They should be slightly charred and softened. (See image nearby.) In the oven, it will take longer to get the veggies roasted and charred, maybe 15 minutes or so. Remove the veggies from the heat once they are softened and charred.
- Place the almonds in the food processor and process until finely ground. Add the spices and parsley and continue to process for another 30 seconds of so, until the parsley is fine. Next add the garlic, roasted tomatoes and peppers, along with any pan juices, and process until smooth-ish. The sauce won’t be completely smooth due to the almonds. Add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil and process again. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.