Ah, summer. It’s upon us! And even though I’m hoping no grilling will get done this weekend due to rain (please, oh please) we have fired up the grill several times already and hope to continue as the months continue to provide us with warm nights and light well into the 9 o’clock hour. We had a truly noteworthy grilling session last weekend where the star of the show was that tasty little dollop of red pepper puree on the side of the asparagus called Romesco.
Romesco is a blend of roasted red bell peppers, hazelnuts, almonds, garlic and roasted tomatoes. I can’t explain how magical it all is when blended up together, but it is incredible as a topping for a grilled flank steak, a dip for asparagus, or even a spread for the grilled bread I’m hoping you’ll still try! We topped baked potatoes with our leftover romesco sauce this week and I just KNOW it would be fabulous on top of a simple omelet. I love a sauce that can be so versatile because it won’t just sit in your fridge, unused. There are literally endless options for this tasty sauce and I hope you will make this for your next summer meal!
makes about 3 cups
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
4 red bell peppers
6-8 cloves of garlic, still in their skins
3/4 cup olive oil, plus oil for roasting vegetables and toasting nuts
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup day-old bread, cubed and toasted with olive oil
red wine vinegar
2 tsp Piment d’Esplette (or dried chili flakes)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 300F. Season the tomatoes and peppers with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Bake the cloves of garlic along with the tomatoes and the peppers, until the garlic is soft, (remove them when they are to let the tomatoes and peppers finish) the tomatoes have begun to caramelize and the peppers are tender and beginning to blister, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, cover the peppers with foil and set aside for 10 minutes, then peel the skin and remove the seeds and veins from the peppers.
In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast the almonds and hazelnuts with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and salt.
Remove the garlic cloves from their skins. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, toasted nuts and bread. Add the Piment d’Esplette or chili flakes. Slowly drizzle in the remaining ¾ cup of olive oil until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Season with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper until it’s to your liking. We added about 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and added about 2 tsp of kosher salt and some pepper. Puree until very smooth, but the sauce will remain slightly chunky.
Serve with grilled vegetables, meats, baked potatoes, bread, etc, etc, etc!