Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce
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This sauce has the smoky, spicy taste of Catalonia. Serve whenever your taste buds need a wake-up call. For centuries, sauces thickened with nuts or bread were a staple of European cookery. Today, they still exist as a few famous regional specialties such as Italy's pesto sauce. One other famous sauce is Romesco, a spicy concoction that's an icon of Catalan cuisine. Once your ingredients are roasted, the sauce comes together in your food processor in just a few minutes.


  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 large red sweet bell peppers
  • ⅓ cup whole or halved raw almonds
  • 1 thick slice bread
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 tsp. Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika), hot or sweet
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar, or more to taste
  • ½ tsp. sea salt, or more to taste


  1. Heat your oven to 375° F and line two sheet pans with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Put the garlic, tomato and bell peppers on one sheet, then the almonds and bread on the other. Place both sheets in the oven. Take out the bread and almonds after 10 minutes, when they're toasted and the almonds are slightly aromatic. Turn up the heat to 425° F and roast the remaining vegetables for another 15-20 minutes, until the peppers collapse and the tomato's skin splits.
  3. Transfer the peppers to a heatproof bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to trap the steam – this loosens the peppers' skins. While they're cooling, peel the garlic and the tomato. Cut the tomato in half, remove the core and squeeze out the juice and seeds into a cup.
  4. Uncover the peppers once they're cool enough to handle and slip off their skins. Halve them and discard the stems, seeds, membranes and skins. Combine the roasted vegetables with all of the other ingredients in your food processor and pulse until it makes a smooth paste.
  5. Taste the sauce and add extra salt or vinegar as needed, until the flavor is nicely balanced.
  6. Serve the Romesco sauce as a dip with fresh vegetables or cooked shrimp, or spoon it over poultry, fish or grilled meats as a sauce. Add more nuts or bread if necessary for a thicker texture, or thin it with the reserved tomato juice.


To shorten your preparation time, use good-quality canned tomatoes and roasted peppers from a jar.

If you can't find the hot version of Pimentón de la Vera, substitute 2 parts sweet paprika to 1 part ground chipotle, or 3 parts sweet paprika to 1 part cayenne pepper.

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