I can’t help but think that Shakespeare really meant to write a love story about Romesco.
Have you tried it?
Made from a base of sweet bell peppers, tomato and almond, this Spanish sauce (not Roman in this case), takes on smoldering husky flavors from the slow-roasted caramelized vegetables and smoked paprika. It retains texture and thickness from the ground nuts (bread is also traditionally added to thicken the sauce but I skipped it here in favor of onion, which works well) and acquires a little added heat from the chili but not too much.
Many romesco recipes call for jarred bell peppers, which is fine, but I urge you to make this recipe at least once from scratch to taste the difference! (plus it’s fun).
The roasted veggies are intermingled with sherry vinegar and tamari (speaking of liberties) and I like to use the low and slow roasting method to draw out flavor and jamminess (O Romesco, Romesco). There’s plenty of roasted garlic in the mix too which contributes great flavor (and is not nearly as pungent as raw garlic).
This beautiful vibrant sauce comes together easily and creates a generous 3 cups — you can make it in advance and store it in the fridge for a few days (or freeze for future use).
Romesco sauce goes with virtually everything! — from eggs, to falafel, to fish. It makes a great sandwich spread, pizza base, veggie topper and pasta buddy. Depending on your taste (it does have robust flavor), you might also like it as a dip served with crackers, mezze platter/snack tray, etc.
- 4 large red bell peppers, sliced (I kept most seeds)
- 4 roma tomatoes, sliced in 3 (I kept seeds)
- 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
- ½ red onion, thick sliced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (sub red wine or apple cider)
- 1 Tbsp Tamari sauce (sub soy sauce or liquid aminos)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup roasted salted almonds
- 2 tsp smoked paprika (make sure your paprika still has some life, or splurge on a new bottle, you won't regret it!)
- 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Heat oven to 300 F.
- Place almonds in a blender/food processor and pulse just long enough to break down into a coarse texture (you are not going for a paste unless you prefer a smoother textured sauce).
- Meanwhile, place sliced bell peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, tamari and salt, mixing well to combine. Spread veg onto a parchment lined baking sheet with all the juices (a little veg overlap is fine but best to use two baking sheets if you're really running out of room). The parchment is important for absorbing excess moisture released during roasting.
- Roast veggies in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until nice and soft. Remove from oven and carefully add veg and any extractible juices to the blender/food processor with the almonds. Add: paprika, chili garlic sauce and chopped parsley (working in batches as necessary). Pulse until well combined.
- Taste the sauce and make any flavor adjustments desired: a little more salt, some pepper, touch of sweet (dab of honey/maple syrup), etc.
- Allow the sauce to cool before storing in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezing.
- Reheat or enjoy cold.
Makes a great gift too (everyone likes a good love story, specially one that ends well).