Romesco Sauce – a Spanish classic
This has to be one of my all-time favourite Spanish sauces. Romesco Sauce is not only extremely delicious but also it can lift most dishes onto a different level. A jar of Romesco will last in your fridge for several weeks. It’s great served with grilled or baked fish, bbq chicken, sausages & vegetables, roasted vegetables, folded through boiled green beans, as a dip for chicken or lamb – even with fish fingers! I sometimes just eat it with breadsticks. But just wait till you try it with tortilla!
I prefer to make this Romesco Sauce with hazelnuts for a change, as so many things in my kitchen are almond-based, but using almonds is acceptable too. From this recipe, you will yield approx 500ml and for the purposes of this recipe I’m baking sea bass fillets but you can fry, bake or BBQ any white fish of your choice.
Romesco Sauce is always served cold, not chilled but room temperature.
Ingredients for the Romesco Sauce
4 medium tomatoes – I prefer plum
1 large red pepper
4 cloves garlic, skins on
40g day-old bread
Olive oil for drizzling
50g toasted hazelnuts, almonds or a mixture of each, lightly toasted
1 x level tsp smoked paprika
3 x tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 x tbs sherry vinegar
Salt, such as Maldon
Cayenne or pepper if desired
Romesco Sauce Method
Set your oven to 170C/325F. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper and drizzle with olive oil.
Cut your tomatoes & pepper in half. Clean pepper of seeds and white pith. Place these flesh side down on the tray, along with the 4 unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with a little more oil, scatter with salt & pepper and place in the oven.
Keep your nose alert for the smell of garlic as the cloves will cook ahead of the rest. Burnt garlic ruins any dish. After about 15-20 minutes the garlic should be roasted and golden. Remove it and set to one side. Continue roasting the tomatoes and peppers for a further 15 minutes or so until you can pull their skins away.
Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Toast your hazelnuts in a dry pan until golden.
Peel away the skins of both and pinch out the cores of the tomatoes. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins. I place my dry old bread in the accumulated juices, to soften a little.
Place everything in your blender, scraping every last drop of juice off the tray. Add the smoked paprika and hot spice if required.
Blitz until it all becomes one smoothish puree. Add your extra virgin olive oil and Sherry vinegar. Blitz again and this time check for seasoning. Add more salt if required – it will probably need another teaspoon.
Decant into your serving dish or jar and enjoy this delicious Romesco Sauce with everything you can imagine!