45 million Spaniards can’t be wrong. There is a reason this is the national sauce of Spain. Because it’s magic. Use it as a dip, marinade, spread, pesto, sauce, with vegetables, proteins, seafood, even eggs….the list is almost endless. The ultimate standby!!
You can find bottled sauces in stores that claim to be a “magic sauce”. But I am so confident that Spanish Romesco Sauce is THE ultimate magic sauce that I’m willing to put a bet on it.
If someone can show me a sauce / dip that is tastier and more versatile, then….hmm….what’s a good punishment for me?
I know! I’ll be VEGAN for a month. No meat, no eggs, no dairy and….shudder at the thought…no cheese. Oooohh…that’s a BIG BET!!! 🙂
The reason I have so much confidence in Romesco Sauce is because Spaniards have been devouring it for centuries and once the Western world started discovering it in the 21st century, chefs all around the world jumped on it. Because the pros knew they had stumbled on something really special. 😉
It’s smoky from the chargrilled capsicum/bell peppers. It’s creamy and tastes rich, it’s like a dip – but a softer consistency. And like pesto – but so much healthier (far less oil). It’s a sauce to put on food, to add into things for cooking (soups, stews, sauces), it’s a marinade, a spread.
And here’s more validation for Romesco Sauce – if you need it! Each month, Super Food Ideas magazine (Australia’s largest food magazine – woo hoo!) asks me to submit ideas for a feature. I love that brainstorming phase. The floodgates open and I send them lists of theme ideas and use an excessive amount of exclamation marks (due to overexcitement) when I describe the recipes. (Oh wait – let me add some here – !!!!)
A brief description of the magic of Romesco Sauce was all it took for Super Food Ideas to jump on it.
See? The PROS know an amazing sauce when they see it!!! 😉
Look, here’s the spread!!! It’s available now, finally! I did these recipes months ago, I’ve been waiting so impatiently for this to hit the stands!
Here’s a little run down on each of the recipes I created for Super Food Ideas using Romesco Sauce.
1. Spanish Roast Chicken with Grilled Veg (below left) – marinated in Romesco Sauce which transforms into the most amazing crust when baked!
2. Barbecued Marinated Lamb with Smashed Potatoes (below right), drizzled with Romesco Sauce – I know I should tell you how amazing the lamb is (and it really is!) but those smashed potatoes…..Courtesy of Claire from Sprinkles and Sprouts, a fellow Aussie food blogger! See her Smashed Crispy Thyme Potatoes recipe here.
3. Barbecued Seafood Skewers with Romesco Sauce (below left) – Prawns, fish and squid skewers served with Romesco Sauce on the side. This is the original purpose for which Romesco Sauce was invented by Spanish fishermen, and just one bite is all it takes to know that smoky creamy Romesco sauce and fresh seafood is a match made in heaven. 🙂
4. Summer Pasta Salad (below middle) – Romesco Sauce is brilliant to use as a pesto!
5. Romesco Eggs with Chorizo (below right)- Breakfast, lunch or dinner, just make sure you serve this with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the incredible tomato-Romesco sauce!
Though traditionally made with bell peppers / capsicum that is cooked until black on the BBQ, directly over the flame of gas stoves, or in a cranked up oven, it can also be made with store-bought chargrilled capsicum. Still delicious – but the wonderful smoky flavour is even more intense if you make your own chargrilled capsicum!
Romesco Sauce. I am unnaturally obsessed with this. I really hope you give it a go! – Nagi x
PS Isn’t the colour sensational? Makes me smile just looking at it!
PPS I hate to play favorites…..but my gosh, this Spanish Romesco Marinated Chicken is incredible. Incredible! (If I do say so myself!). The Romesco Sauce crust that forms when the chicken is roasted is so good!!! The recipe is in this months’ Super Food Ideas – along with all the other ones pictured above! 🙂
- 2 red capsicum / bell peppers (Note 1)
- 1 tomato
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed (Note 2)
- ½ cup natural almonds (Note 3)
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or red or white wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat barbecue grill OR gas stove on high and chargrill capsicum using until black and blistered all over. (Note 4)
- Place in a bowl and cover for at least 20 minutes. The capsicum will cool down and sweat, allowing the skin to slide off easily. Peel and discard the skin, and the seeds, place in blender.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Place tomato and garlic on foil, drizzle with 2 tsp oil, and wrap.
- Place foil packet on a tray, add bread and almonds onto the tray. Bake for 5 minutes until bread is golden, remove almonds and bread. Tear bread into pieces, place in blender with almonds.
- Bake garlic and tomato for a further 25 minutes or until tomato is tender. Open foil, allow to cool until you can handle it. Peel tomato, add to blender. Squeeze garlic from skins, place in blender.
- Add remaining ingredients, whizz until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Refer to Notes for ideas for how to use!
Omit the red wine vinegar from the recipe and just add according to taste at the end (because capsicum in jars is a bit more sour than fresh capsicum).
2. This is best made with ordinary white sandwich bread because it blends up easily into the sauce. But you can use fancy bread if you wish.
3. You can use roasted almonds instead, just toast them in the oven for a few minutes less.
4. The char is how you get the smoky flavour in this sauce! I just plonk the capsicum on the grill or on the actual flames on a gas stove, leave it for a few minutes until it turns black, turn with tongs and repeat until black all over.
To do it in the oven, crank the oven up as high as it will go and put the capsicum directly on the rack (whole). Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until it's nicely charred. The flavour is not quite as smoky as using a BBQ or gas stove.
5. Ways to use Romesco Sauce - traditionally used by Spanish fishermen as a sauce for cooked seafood, Romesco Sauce is a fabulous way to jazz up even the plainest of cooked foods! Simply BBQ/cook meat, vegetables or seafoods and serve with (plenty of!) Romesco Sauce. Here are other suggestions for using Romesco Sauce:
- Dip for chips, veggie sticks, crackers and fries
- Spread - on crostini, sandwiches, burgers (oh my, so good!)
- As a pesto
- Stirred into sauces to add flavour and richness
- Stirred into soups and stews
- As a marinade or crust for roasted meats