There are as many versions of romesco sauce as there are applications for its use. I'll present one of them here today, but feel free to experiment. In Spain, the sauce is often made with Cascabel peppers but fear not, I won't be sending you on a wild pepper chase. We can achieve a perfectly delightful bowl of romesco with a jar of ordinary roasted red peppers. Marcona almonds are traditional as well but the end result will not suffer a bit if you use regular almonds.
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 large slice of firm, sugar-free, whole grain bread, crusts removed
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds (or blanched sliced almonds)
- one 7.5 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained
- 3/4 cup of fresh grape tomatoes*
- 1 tbsp. of sherry wine or red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- some freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- dash of Tobasco sauce, optional
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until ground. Add the rest of the ingredients, pulse and puree until finely ground. The mixture will form a thick paste, similar to pesto in consistency. Serve immediately, or reserve and chill for later use.
*I've chosen to use grape tomatoes because its winter. If it were tomato season, I would opt for one large ripe tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped.
The finished sauce is delicious all on its own and can be used to top any grilled fish, chicken or meat. It would be outstanding as a sandwich condiment and is equally good when used as a dip for fresh veggies or spread on crackers as seen above.
Taking my cue from The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook, I put the sauce to good use last night and adapted the following recipe:
Chicken with Romesco Sauce:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, smashed to a paste with a pinch of Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
- Romesco Sauce
- 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook, turning once until browned on both sides, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and reserve. Add the romesco sauce and vegetable broth to the same skillet and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Return the chicken to the skillet, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked throughout. Serve, garnished with a slice of lemon, and enjoy!
As written, this recipe will serve four and there will be plenty of sauce left over for later use. Keep the left-over sauce covered in the fridge and use it as a dip for some lovely grilled shrimp, or what have you. I like to serve it with some crisp flat bread and hummus, though it would be equally good when paired with a nice, sharp cheese.
Really, its the most versatile recipe in my cannon. It tastes of summer in a bowl ... and that's a welcome quality indeed. I hope you'll try it!