Romesco Sauce

This superversatile romesco sauce gets superb flavor from tomatoes, chiles, garlic, bell pepper and nuts. It’s terrific served with everything from grilled vegetables and bread to shrimp, fish, chicken and steak. Slideshow: More Chile Recipes 

Romesco Sauce
Pungent with fried garlic and vinegar, ruddy red from dried chiles, textured with toasted nuts and pulverized bread, romesco is a Catalan treasure in sauce form. Its consistency, temperature and exact composition all get tailored to how the sauce will be used: whether to flavor a monkfish and potato stew on the coast, or to sauce a rustic fried rabbit dish in the Catalan hinterlands. But the truth is that a good romesco tastes awesome with anything, from boiled potatoes to grilled seafood to pristine stalks of asparagus—or on its own, with a spoon. Where to eat it: Run, don’t walk, to Tarragona’s seafood mecca Barquetwhere you can try chef David Solé i Torné’s famous romesco-flavored seafood paella. Get the recipe: Romesco Sauce. Photo: Christopher Testani
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Yield:
2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 dried Nora or ancho chiles (3/4 ounce), stemmed and seeded

  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes

  • 2 plum tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Two 1/2-inch-thick slices of baguette

  • 6 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds

  • 1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts

  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chiles and sun-dried tomatoes. Let stand until softened, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid.

  2. Meanwhile, roast the plum tomatoes directly over a flame or under the broiler until lightly charred in spots and the skin is blistered. Let cool, then peel and coarsely chop.

  3. In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until almost smoking. Add the bread and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a plate. Add the almonds and hazelnuts to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate. Reserve the garlic oil.

  4. In a food processor, pulse the bread, garlic and nuts until very finely chopped. Add the drained chiles and sun-dried tomatoes, the roasted tomatoes and bell pepper and the paprika; puree until smooth. With the machine on, gradually add the vinegar, 1/3 cup of the chile soaking liquid, 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the parsley and season generously with salt and pepper.

Make Ahead

The romesco can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve With

Grilled vegetables, bread, fish or steak.

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