Romesco, the distinctive rust-coloured sauce from Spain's Catalan region, is usually made with fresh and dried red capsicum, roasted almonds and hazelnuts, a good amount of garlic, and lots of sweet paprika. It is popular served with grilled fish or as a dip for vegetables. It can also be used as the foundation for many other dishes, broths and sauces - so it's worth mastering.
Romesco sauce is popular served with grilled fish or as a dip for vegetables. Photo: Marcel Aucar
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3 red capsicum, roasted
1 brown onion
1 garlic head
160g hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed
160g blanched almonds, roasted
30ml olive oil plus 1 tbsp
1 thick slice good bread, crusts removed
100ml sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp sweet paprika
Place the tomatoes, capsicum, onion and garlic in a roasting tray and roast in a 180C oven.
Take the vegetables out as they become soft: the tomatoes will be ready first in about 10 minutes, then the capsicum. The garlic and onions take about 30-40 minutes.
Crush the nuts coarsely in a mortar and pestle then put them into a bowl.
Heat 30ml olive oil in a small pan and fry the bread until golden.
Tear the bread into pieces and peel the roasted vegetables and blend them all together in a food processor with the vinegar, paprika and 1 tbsp oil until smooth. Add to the nuts and mix well.
Suggestion: Romesco is also used for a dish called escalvada, a mixture of red capsicum, eggplant and leek. The vegetables are roasted until they are soft and luscious, then laid in strips with a big scoop of romesco on top.