At it’s most basic, romesco sauce is a red pepper and nut based sauce that originates from Spain. Recipes vary quite a bit – with many containing tomatoes and/or bread crumbs – but I prefer keeping it simple. This sauce has been in my rotation for years. It’s particularly suited for white fish like halibut or cod, but is also wonderful on chicken, roasted cauliflower, and this chickpea skillet bread. Not enough options? Try as a dip for vegetables or a sandwich spread. It’s also a perfect compliment to grilled meats and vegetables. Trust me: keeping this stocked in your fridge is well worth it.
I like roasting the peppers myself, as it adds a sweet, smokey, charred flavor to the dip. If you are in a pinch, jarred roasted red peppers will work, though I find there isn’t as much depth. Smoked paprika is a staple in my kitchen – but if you don’t have, substitute a 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cumin- or omit all together.
2 red peppers, sliced lengthwise with seeds removed
1 clove garlic, peeled
½ cup fresh basil
¼ cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional – more or less to taste)
Preheat broiler. Place peppers on a foil-lined sheet skin side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Place under broil and broil peppers until black and blistered – about 9-12 minutes. Carefully transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with a plate. Set aside.
Once peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the black skin. Place the peeled peppers in a food processor along with all other ingredients. Pulse 10-12 times until mixed together. Sauce should be chunky and textured.