Friday, May 3, 2013

ROMESCO SAUCE (Roasted Red Pepper)

I’ve gotten a few requests from friends for some lightened up dishes.  To me food has to taste good, and well butter, cream, and sure tastes good doesn’t it?  But as summer approaches (meaning bikini season), not to mention that I just want to be healthy; these requests got me to thinking that I probably could benefit from some lightened up dishes too.  

So I am on a self-imposed mission to lighten up and healthify (I’m pretty sure that I just made that word up) many of my dishes.  I’m not just gonna make a light dish for the sake of being healthy it still has got to taste good.

There will still be the rich dishes that we all love, I can’t help it; but there will be less of them.
One way to make a healthy dish taste good is to make a bright and flavorful sauce to accommodate it. 
That’s where this Romesco Sauce comes in.  It’s just so fun to say Rrrrromesco.

Romesco Sauce is of Spanish origin and it’s always made of raw nuts (usually almond or hazelnuts), red peppers, garlic and olive oil.  Other ingredients can be added depending on how it will be used. 
In this Romesco Sauce I added bread for body, a chipotle pepper for some heat and smokiness, and some sherry vinegar just to brighten the flavors.  Because the ingredients are just thrown into a food processor, it takes only minutes to prepare.

I used this sauce to top Baked Potato Croquettes and also over fish (look for those next week).  The sauce is so flavorful that I sure didn’t miss the fat in either of those dishes.  Heck you could dunk a shoe in this sauce and it would taste great!

Here’s how to make all this yumminess!

This is what you need for Romesco Sauce.

Start by adding the almonds to the food processor (you may use a blender, but a food processor works the best); pulse until the almonds are quite fine, there are still a few small pieces and that's okay because they will be processed some more.

Just tear up a slice of ordinary sandwich bread with the crusts removed.

Add the bread and roughly chopped garlic to the almonds.

Pulse that until you have course bread crumbs.

Piquillo peppers are smaller than bell peppers.

This is how I buy the Piquillo peppers; of course I buy them when they're BOGO.

Add the Piquillo peppers, chipotle pepper, and tomato paste.

I used only one chipotle, it adds just a tiny bit of heat and smokiness, if you would like your Romesco spicier than go ahead and add two chipotles; although I would recommend starting with one and giving it a taste before adding the second.

This is also a good time to add the sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.

If you don’t have sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar is a good substitute.
If you’ve never tried sherry vinegar, you really should!

Turn the food processor on and stream the olive oil through the opening in the top.  Process until the sauce is smooth.

Remove the sauce to a bowl, cover it and refrigerate for at least one hour; this allows the flavors to marry...and who doesn't love to be married? 
That's a rhetorical question; you don't have to answer that.
Romesco Sauce is great to serve over this Pan Seared Grouper, or chicken, or steak. 
It's also amazing served as a condiment to Baked Potato Croquettes, as a sandwich spread, or just to dunk some good bread into!  Heck I would even toss into a pasta salad!


Makes 1 cup

¼             cup        Blanched, slivered almonds
1              slice       Sandwich bread, crust removed, and torn into small pieces
1              clove      Garlic, chopped
8              whole    Jarred piquillo peppers
1-2           whole     Chipotle in adobo, seeds removed
1              Tbsp.      Tomato paste
2              Tbsp.      Sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar
¼             tsp.       Salt
¼             tsp.       Pepper
3              Tbsp.      Olive oil

   1.       Add the almonds to the bowl of a food processor; pulse until the almonds are quite fine, some small pieces are okay.
   2.       Add the torn bread and the garlic, pulse until you have the texture of course bread crumbs.
   3.       Add the remaining ingredients except the olive oil to the food processor.  Turn the food processor on, and stream the olive oil through the opening at the top.  Blend until completely smooth.
   4.       Refrigerate for at least one hour before use.
   5.       Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to one week.

Serve Romesco Sauce over fish, chicken, or steak.  Use it to top Potato Croquettes, or even as a sandwich spread.

 Note*  A food processor works best, but a blender can be used if you don't have a food processor; just be sure to give the almonds a chop.

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  1. I haven't dabbled much into Italian sauces which is weird since I absolutely adore them. Your romesco sauce looks great! Have an awesome weekend!

  2. The Romesco sauce sounds heavenly :light, fresh and easy to prepare!
    Kari,I couldn't wish for more, thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Romesco sauce has been on my radar for some time yet I haven't had a chance to try it - I'm inspired Kari! It sounds and looks completely delicious!

  4. I love how rich the sauce is -- with such depth of color :)