Oh, my friends, there are certain times of the year that the idea of a viscous chili pepper and tomato sauce with a snap of vinegar and abundance of fresh herbs and aromatics truly does make my mouth water. The thought of a hint of fresh mint in the sauce for seafood, or roasted fennel and a little extra garlic for escargot that truly makes me smile in the spring and summer months. I love Romesco for these very reasons.
Originating from Spain in the Catalonia region, Romesco has traditionally been used my locals with seafood. The sauce is a chili pepper forward with a bit of vine ripe tomatoes. Typically made with a blend of finely ground roasted hazelnuts, almonds and/or pine nuts for flavor and texture. The sauce can be thickened with flour but more than likely adding stale bread in while pureeing the sauce for me is a much better option. A bit of garlic, parsley, fennel or mint is used depending on what you’re saucing, or just use a great “dip” for vegetables.
While gardening this summer and growing those beautiful red peppers, tomatoes, herbs and aromatics, consider making a batch of my Romesco and keep it handy. I hear it’s even wonderful as a pizza sauce! Enjoy!
1 large fire roasted pepper, peels and seeded.
3 medium sized charred tomatoes
3 large cloves of fresh garlic, or to taste
5-6 ounces sliced stale bread
1/2 -3/4 cup roasted almonds (you may use roasted hazelnuts, but be sure they are skinned)
1 teaspoon In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” or kosher salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, rough chopped
2 teaspoons ground Ancho chili pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil (Use 1/2 cup if you would like a thinner sauce )
- Preheat your oven broiler and place the rack close enough to the element that the tomatoes will char. fire roast the peppers open your gas stove. Char all over, place in a sealable plastic bag, and let the pepper steam and cool down. Rinse off the charred skin and remove the seeds and pith after cooling. Place the tomatoes on a cookie sheet or small roasting pan and Char under the broiler. Remove and let cool.
- In a food processor add the garlic and pulse a few times to break up. Add the almonds and bread and process to a fine crumb/paste. Add the tomatoes whole, one by one, until completely combined. Best add the peppers and parsley and process in.
- Next add the seasonings: Paprika, Ancho, and Cook’s Line Seasoning, and then the Sherry Vinegar; Process smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the machine running,
- Taste for any adjusted seasonings and remember the flavors will develop. Give it at least an hour to rest and the flavors to meld before serving.
- Use as a sauce for grilled, pan fried, or steamed fish. Fantastic with meats, especially lamb and chicken... or use as a dip for grilled artichokes, and even fried plantain chips (that’s my new guilty pleasure.)