If you’re looking for a rich, decadent accompaniment for a meal, packed full of deep flavours with a little zing, then look no further – Romesco sauce is for you!
I first had this in Barcelona in a really cool tapas place where you sat at the ‘bar’ and just ordered a couple of dishes at a time, watching them being created in a matter of moments.
Sadly, I didn’t get any photos; partly as it was packed full of people, partly because I was too busy enjoying the food 😉 This photo is of another meal we had at Flax and Kale, a fabulous restaurant in Barcelona worth visiting if you are there.
Romesco sauce is incredibly adaptable and can be served hot or cold, thick or runny but always with a full-bodied flavour.
This sauce can be used:
- on top of roasted veg (particularly slices of grilled aubergine or roast potatoes)
- as a dip
- stirred into pasta or rice
- dolloped on top of soup or a veggie stew
- as a toast topper or in a sandwich or wrap
- drizzled over steamed dark green veggies like seasonal greens or kale
To get the best flavour, the red pepper and onion need to be roasted in the oven along with the garlic. If you plan ahead, do this whilst the oven is on for something else to save electricity. Alternatively, you could buy a jar of roasted cooked peppers, although these carry a higher price tag as well as additional ingredients.
Traditionally, either almonds or hazelnuts are used as a base for this sauce. However, if you are nut-free, then use sunflower seeds instead – it still tastes fab.
And, if you have to avoid vinegar, replace with lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. It’s not quite the same as yummy balsamic vinegar which provides depth of flavour, but it’s better than getting a migraine or other reaction!
The amount of spices are a guideline; this is how I like it. Increase or decrease the amounts to make it perfect just for you.
This sauce keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days, although it’s so tasty, I doubt it will be around for that long!
- High speed blender
- 1 red pepper
- ½ onion optional
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons ground almonds or ground sunflowers if nut free
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Water if needed
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
- Chop onion in half and place on baking tray with the red pepper and garlic cloves (omit garlic if you have roasted garlic in fridge already). Roast for 20 minutes until soft. Leave to cool.
- Peel the skin from the pepper and deseed. Place pepper, onion and garlic cloves into a food processor bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.
- Add water if the mix is too thick. If you are using the sauce for a dip, you probably won't need any. If you are making a pourable sauce then you will.
- Check the flavour and add more spice or seasoning as needed. Transfer to a bowl until you’re ready to use or keep in the fridge.