Romesco is a classic Spanish sauce that is served with a wide variety of
dishes, including the famous tortilla Española from the Tarragona
region, this classic Catalan sauce combines almonds with two of the most
popular horticultural imports from the New World—chiles and tomatoes.
The sauce gets its name from the romesco chile, but these are not
readily available outside Spain. A combination of ancho and New Mexican
chiles approximates the flavor.
1 ancho chile, stem and seeds removed
2 dried red New Mexican red chiles, stems and seeds removed
1/2 cup toasted almonds
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tomatoes, unpeeled
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200ºF.
Place the chiles, almonds, garlic, and tomatoes on a baking pan and
roast in the oven until the nuts are toasted, the chiles are fragrant,
and the skins of the tomatoes and garlic are blistered. The nuts will
take about 5 minutes, the tomatoes about 20, and the chiles somewhere in
between. Check frequently to be sure nothing burns.
Allow the ingredients to cool. Place the almonds in a spice mill or
coffee grinder and process to a powder. Place the chiles in a bowl,
cover with hot water, and allow them to steep for 15 minutes to soften.
Drain the chiles and discard the water. Remove the skins from the
tomatoes and garlic.
Put the almonds, chiles, tomatoes, garlic, and vinegar in a blender or
food processor and puree to a smooth paste, adding a little oil if
Transfer the paste to a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil, 1 teaspoon at
a time, until half of the oil is absorbed. Gradually add the remaining
oil. Season with the salt and pepper.
Allow the sauce to sit for an hour or two to blend the flavors.