Romesco Sauce: Catalan Red Pepper, Tomato & Almond Sauce
Romesco Sauce is a tomato-based smoky pepper sauce that originates from Tarragona, Catalonia.
The authentic version uses ñora peppers—small, round, mild cherry peppers with a robust taste, sometimes called the paprika peppers. They are often sold dried and soaked before using. Since these peppers may not be available outside of Spain, you can substitute them with bell peppers.
The sauce is thickened with toasted white country bread and almonds, and include the classic Spanish ingredients of garlic, vinegar (use sherry vinegar for an authentic taste), tomatoes, and olive oil.
The fishermen in Catalonia made this sauce to be eaten with fish stew but it is absolutely fabulous with vegetables, especially grilled young leeks, asparagus, and roasted cauliflower.
Sweet red pepper, tomato and almond sauce from Catalonia
- 1/2 cup whole almonds
- 1 slice white bread
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 onion, cut into quarters
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Cut the bell pepper and the tomatoes in half and remove the cores. Put the tomato and bell pepper halves, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.
Add the almonds and bread to the baking sheet and bake everything for another 15 minutes.
Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle, add all ingredients, except oil and vinegar, to the food processor and puree until well blended.
With the motor running, gradually, add the oil and then vinegar until the sauce is thick and smooth.
Romesco with hazelnuts. Replace half of the almonds with hazelnuts.
Romesco without onion or less garlic.