Romesca Sauce is something to fall in love with. A vibrant, bold and versatile condiment that can be used as an appetizer/dip, on your vegetables, fish, chicken and more.
What Is Romesca Sauce
Traditionally Romesca sauce was made with my favorite kitchen tool, a mortar and pestle! It's now also made in a food processor or blender. The consistency is definitely more textured with a food processor. Although there is not only one way to make romesca sauce, there are however some staple ingredients;
- Roasted red peppers
Unbelievable flavor that's packed into just one sauce! This bold sauce originates from Catalonian Romesco (Catalan pronunciation: [ruˈmɛsku]) is a tomato-based sauce that originated from the province of Tarragona, which is the Spanish region of Catalonia. Referenced here. The fishermen in this area made this sauce to be eaten with fish hence romesca is traditionally served with fish. I know that a dollop of romesca sauce on salmon or trout is a resounding yes from me!
Seeing this sauce the first time my instant reaction was oh....my.... God I have to taste that! I did, and instantly knew that I was going to make it so I asked a lot of questions! More a paste rather than a sauce though, the rustic thick texture makes it the perfect spread or dip.
Every recipe has a key ingredient and in this sauce the red bell peppers are the key ingredient. You can use jarred roasted peppers for convenience or you can roast them yourself. This can be done in the oven, open fire, gas stove flame and on the grill. I use whatever works for me at the time and I especially like using the outside grill. Get them in, close the door and let them cook themselves into a state of charred skin, it sounds lazy and it is but it works.
You will notice below that I've substituted some of the ingredients. This is to make this recipe user friendly with ingredients that we can find in South Africa.
Ingredients For Romesca Sauce
These are the ingredients to make this 5 minute romesca sauce;
Roasted Red Peppers: You can use store-bought or roast your own. If you scroll down to Tips and Suggestions I've shared more on roasting peppers.
Almonds The traditional recipe calls for either pinenuts or walnuts but in this country we pay an "arm and a leg" for pine nuts and I already had almonds. Make sure they are raw or roasted. I like buying raw almonds in bulk and toast them myself. Keep in a sealed jar and use when needed.
Sun Dried Tomatoes The authentic recipe calls for roasted tomatoes but sun dried tomatoes are as gorgeous and the easier route. Just add with some of the oil from the jar/bag more like a tablespoon or 2 depending on which brand you have.
Raw Garlic I've definitely used way more garlic than the traditional recipe and we loved it! Feel free to use less or omit if you have any allergic reactions to garlic. For those who can eat it then don't leave it out purely for the antibiotic properties, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and so much more.
Red Wine Vinegar or Sherry Vinegar Red wine vinegar is easier to find but then again so is sherry vinegar, store dependent.
Calabrese Spice is a 100% natural spice blend created specifically from our Calabrian recipes, using it in this romesca sauce recipe was very exciting for me! It was more like Italy meets Spain (Calabria meets Catalonia in a cuisine way). View all our quality spices.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil The olive oil adds richness, pour it in through the nozzle of the food processor after you've given the rest of the ingredients a few pulses.
How To Make Romesca Sauce
Romesca sauce is very quick to make especially when using a food processor.
Roasting The Almonds In a dry skillet, add the almonds. Over medium high heat toast until lightly browned all round. Set aside. Once cool, roughly chop.
Food Processor Add the ingredients into a food processor fitted with the blade. Roasted peppers, tomatoes, nuts, spices and seasoning, excluding the olive oil. Start the food processor on pulse a few times until the ingredients are combined. Go to speed 1 or 2 to blend while pouring the olive oil gradually through the nozzle. Scrape the sides down a few times, tasting as you go and adjust the taste to suit yourself. If you find the consistency too thick, add a few tablespoons of ice water and blend into a smooth paste.
Tips and Suggestions
This recipe is a pleasure to make when you want something flavor packed, quick and easy. Something you can get into a jar and store in the fridge to add onto most of your food. Here are some of my tips from my kitchen to yours;
- Quality Ingredients: The best quality ingredients that you can find and buy. This is always key to a great tasting, flavor packed recipe.
- Roasted Tomatoes: Another ingredient you will see requested for romesca sauce is roasted tomatoes. Here's the thing, depending on where you are, roasted tomatoes is not a normal purchase in South Africa. If it is, it's like roasted peppers that are more likely imported, that means more money at the till. I've substituted the roasted tomatoes in this recipe for sun-dried tomatoes because those you can find easily.
- Bell Peppers: You can use store bought roasted red peppers just make sure you get a good brand. I've used the flamed grilled peppers in a jar from Woolworths and another brand that I can't remember from Spar. Most delicatessens will stock jarred roast peppers but they come at a hefty price. For this recipe I oven-roasted the bell peppers, it's the lowest cost since you only need 2 red bell peppers for this recipe. You can roast your peppers and jar them yourself with a little acidic liquid and olive oil to make them last long. I've shared more on roasting your own red peppers in this post here.
Serve Romesca sauce with roasted chicken, vegetables, a dip or even as a paste on sandwiches, pastries and more.
Refrigerate Romesca sauce in a jar or an airtight container. Remember that after a day it tastes better and better after that, it will stay refrigerated for 1 week. You can add a drizzle of olive oil each time you use it to get it a bit smoother. The flavor intensify every day!
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- 2 red bell peppers roasted
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes oil packed, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves peeled, roughly chopped
- ½ cup raw almonds toasted and roughly chopped
- 2 Tsps. Tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon sea salt 1st option or any salt you have
- 1 teaspoon Calabrese spice or 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ½ cup Olive oil
- cold water on standby
- 1 Tbsp. Vino Cotto or red wine vinegar or fresh lemon
- Roast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium high heat until lightly browned all round. Set aside. Once cool, roughly chop.
- Add the peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and the rest of the ingredients including the toasted almonds into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple times at first to get the ingredients broken down. Gradually add the olive oil and start to blend to a smooth consistency, scraping the sides down a few times, tasting as you go to adjust the taste to suit yourself. If you find the consistency too thick feel free to add a few tablespoons of ice water and blend into a smooth paste.
- SERVING: Serve Romesca sauce with roasted chicken, vegetables, a dip or even as a paste on sandwiches, pastries and more.
- STORAGE: Refrigerate Romesca sauce in a jar or an airtight container. Remember that after a day it tastes better and better after that, it will stay refrigerated for 1 week. You can add a drizzle of olive oil each time you use it to get it a bit smoother. The flavor intensify every day!