Romesco Sauce

romesco-3

Romesco Sauce
From Stonesoup
Makes enough for 4

Ever since I first made this sauce my Irishman has been requesting it for his birthday. And every year there is loads of romesco appreciation. Every time I make it for a crowd, there’s always a lot of discussion about the sauce. There will be questions about what it’s made of and how did it get to taste so good. It’s well and truly deserving of being the ‘star of the show’ of your next dinner party.

While roasting the capsicum (peppers) does take a while, it’s worth the effort for the extra flavour. But I do often take the easy way out and use roast peppers from the deli or even a jar.

It’s traditionally served with pork but is equally lovely with chicken or your more meaty types of fish like tuna or swordfish. Vegetarians will love it with grilled or roast mushies. Also great as a dip.

2 large red capsicum (bell peppers)
150g (5oz) lightly roasted hazelnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1. Preheat an overhead grill. Cook the peppers until blackened on the first side, then rotate and continue cooking until all sides are charred.

2. Pop the peppers in a bowl. Cover and allow to steam and cool.

3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the seeds and blackened skin.

4. Transfer the pepper flesh to a food processor with the hazelnuts, garlic, vinegar and smoked paprika. Whizz for a minute or until you have a smoothish puree.

5. Add 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper and possibly a little more vinegar or paprika if needed.

VARIATIONS
can’t fine sherry vinegar? – use rice vinegar or wine vinegar such as white or champagne. Lemon juice will also work.

can’t find smoked paprika? – use regular paprika – it won’t be as smoky but should still be fine.

short on time? – use pre-grilled peppers from the deli or even the supermarket – they tend to be smaller so you’ll need about 4.

nut-free / budget – replace hazelnuts with soft sourdough breadcrumbs.

different nuts
– replace hazels with almonds, brazil nuts or pecans or a combo of any of these.

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