One of my favorite meals is grilled veggies over a bed of rice. I cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces, toss them in olive oil and whatever dry spices look appealing, then add them to a hot cast iron pan on the grill. Within 10-15 minutes, dinner’s on the table.
But sometimes I like to add something extra. . .something to bring all the flavors together, even a little punch. For me, this sauce is IT.
It’s a nod to traditional Romesco sauce that originated in Spain, in a town called Tarragone, and it’s usually made with roasted tomatoes and garlic, toasted nuts, dried chili peppers, bread, olive oil and vinegar. It’s a warm, garlic-y sauce that’s wonderful with anything, like roasted meats/veggies, sandwiches, eggs, or in soup or on toasted bread. To learn more about this Catalonian dish, check out this interesting article.
One day I’ll make it the traditional way, but during summer, I try not to turn on my oven that much, so I’ve adapted it to make a tasty alternative.
This version uses jarred/roasted red peppers, garlic that’s smashed to a pulp with salt (to mellow it), toasted nuts, tomato paste, smoked paprika (one of my favorite spices), cayenne pepper and olive oil. I blend the ingredients with my stick blender (or food processor), then it’s ready to be put into action.
I like it on those roasted veggies, but also, with salmon or quinoa/rice salad, or even as a dip for fresh veggies. My hubby loves it on eggs and sandwiches. I’ve even added a spoonful to mayo/sour cream to make a creamy dip.
It’s one of those sauces that, once you taste it, you’ll find lots of uses for it. I make a batch every week and keep it in the fridge – it’s just nice knowing it’s there 🙂
P.S. if you’re hankering for additional ‘sauce inspiration’ try one of these: Mango-Cilantro sauce, or Lemongrass/Cilantro & Lime.
A deliciously nutty, tomato-y and garlic-y sauce, inspired by the infamous Romesco sauce of Spain. Great on just about anything!
- 1/2 c. Nuts (walnuts or sliced/slivered almonds)
- 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
- 1 12 oz. Jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 1/4 c. Tomato paste
- 1 Tb. Red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper (add more if you like it extra spicy)
- 1/2 c. Olive oil
- Toast nuts in a skillet over medium/low heat, just until you smell their nutty aroma. Allow to cool.
- Chop garlic on cutting board. Add a pinch of Kosher salt over the pieces, then run your chef's knife over the garlic/salt to chop finely. Using the flat side of the knife, crush the garlic/salt mixture and keep doing it until you have a paste.
- Add red peppers, nuts, tomato paste, garlic paste, vinegar, paprika, salt and cayenne into a food processor (or a tall/narrow container, if using a stick blender). Pulse until you have a thick paste. Add olive oil, then quickly pulse 1-2 times to incorporate the oil. Taste for seasoning, then transfer to a container, top with a lid, and refrigerate until ready to use.