Hi guys! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Me, I’m still hanging tight and trying to spread comfort through food! I think food has become ever so more important to so many of us during this pandemic. If any of you are psychologists, feel free to comment! And part of that comfort, for me, is trying to make fun, easy things with basic ingredients that will help shake up the dinner routine. Or should that be dinner rut! That’s where the magic of this Roasted Red Pepper Sauce comes in.
If any of you follow me, you know I can’t stop talking about the magic that is this Green sauce that you’ll find on my Peruvian Chicken with Green Sauce. But one cannot live on Green sauce (as much as I’d like to) alone.
About Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
The official name of this bright, tangy Red Pepper Sauce is Romesco Sauce, but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. There’s one good descriptive you don’t hear very often anymore, maybe because no one can pronounce it. Piquant: agreeably pungent or sharp in taste or flavor; pleasantly biting or tart.
But that describes this sauce perfectly. It’s smokey roasted red peppers and tomatoes, lots of garlic, and a little touch of vinegar or lemon that is downright addictive. A balance of earthy, smokey, sweet/tart deliciousness.
Using Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
This is a super easy sauce to customize, five minutes in the blender and you’re gonna, sorry, I have to say it, “Put this (#%&(#(@ on everything!”
I used it the other day on my Quicker Whole Roasted Cauliflower. And thank goodness I made a lot because that cauliflower just became a vehicle to get as much of this sauce as I couldn’t into my mouth! Then I made crostini, just because, well, stale bread and yet another way to get that gorgeous sauce in my mouth.
But I didn’t stop there. I have a confession. It might skeeve some of you guys out. I like my grilled cheese dipped in ketchup. I I gotta say, dipping my grilled cheese in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce? It def upped my game.
In Spain, this sauce is classically used with fish, but don’t stop there! If you have any leftover, try it with eggs, maybe scrambled, drop some in any soup you might be making, use it on pasta (you could stretch it with a little cream or half and half), on oven-roasted or fried potatoes and/or hash browns. Just put it on anything you want! And if you happen to have a bit leftover, freeze it until inspiration hits.
Making Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
My recipe is pretty classic. I love it because it’s a great use for a little leftover bread, which gives the sauce a little body and helps stretch the pricier ingredients. It also kind of grounds the sauce, keeping it a little on the earthier side; after all, a lot of the flavors in this sauce are acidic.
You can play with this sauce in so many ways! Really the peppers are a must (obvs, lol!) but you can add tomatoes or not, roast those tomatoes or not, add the bread or not, add a little or a lot of garlic. Almonds are the classic, but you can use no nuts or another nut. You can adjust how thick or thin, how chunky or smooth by how much olive oil you add, and how long you process the sauce.
And when it comes to the flavors, either sherry vinegar (and if you don’t have it, add a little dribble of sherry and some vinegar) really drives all the flavors home. A lot of people like to use lemon. It’s personal taste. I personally like a little smoked paprika, but a good Pimenton (be careful with that ingredient; it’s strong to our American palates) will be marvelous, maybe a touch of cayenne or a few red pepper flakes if you want to add a little “interest.”
Whatever you do, though, make this how you like it! Let what you have inspire you. I didn’t have any large tomatoes last time and just tossed in a handful of cherry tomatoes. I’ve made it with and without bread. Just taste and adjust the seasonings and don’t forget a little salt. You’ll know when it’s right when that sauce goes from ok to wow.
Saving Money on Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
I did mention the bread and how a little can help stretch this sauce (and take off some of the acidic edge) but other than that, shop well for your ingredients.
Red bell peppers can be pricey but do go on sale. They keep well for a week or two so buy more the week they’re on sale and use them more and save a couple for the following week. This recipe, that calls for roasting the peppers is a perfect recipe to use if your peppers are no longer stellar. Mine were a little wrinkly, and I even had to trip a little mushy area away on one. Roasting and freezing in small packets are a great save and a great way to have roasted peppers on hand.
Jarred peppers will work, too, and save you a step. You might pay for that convenience, though, depending on the brand, quality, and price, but it really depends on the jar and on the price of the fresh. It’s an item I usually add to my pantry if I see a great sale.
The other pricier ingredient in this sauce is the nuts. I really wouldn’t spend a ton of money on a Spanish almond, but if you want a smoother sauce, maybe you might want a “blanched” almond (usually those are the slices or the slivers) but I just toss in a few from the bags I buy at Aldi. They have great prices. Costco isn’t bad, and if you don’t have either, buy your nuts in the fall, before Christmas, when they’re at a low. (If you have some kind of farmers/tractor supply you might be surprised at the diversity of nuts/goodies they have and how low the prices are.)
I hope you’ve all enjoyed this post and are inspired to give this Roasted Red Pepper Sauce a go. Or maybe you already make it and would like to share your special touches! Be safe, all!
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 1/2 cups about 1x
- Category: Condiments
- Cuisine: Spanish
- 2 slices bread, something substantial, crust removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup almonds (or another nut))
- 2 medium or 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 tomato, halved and seeded
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 1 tablespoon (or to taste) sherry vinegar or lemon juice
- salt to taste
Roast Bell Pepper:
Either cut in half stem to bottom and remove seeds and stems or roast whole. Add to a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side up if halved. Turn up edge of foil to contain any juices. Place sheet tray so it is about four to five inches from the broiling element. Roast until the skin is bubbling, blistered and charred in places, watching closely. If whole peppers are used, turn as necessary so all sides are charred.
Remove peppers and either fold up and seal in the foil or add to a dish and cover with the foil and allow to steam until easy to handle. Remove and peel the skin off. If whole peppers are used, peel and then open (if they haven’t already split) and remove the seeds and stem.
Save any juices to add to the sauce.
For the Sauce:
Add bread to blender or food processor and pulse to break up. Add the garlic and nuts and pulse to break down. Add in the roasted peppers (and any juice) and the tomato. With food processor or blender running, drizzle in the olive oil, adding to desired consistency is reached.
Season to taste with smoked paprika, sherry vinegar or lemon, and salt.
Keywords: Almonds, Appetizer, Bell Peppers, Bread, Condiments, leftover bread, Lemon, nuts, Nuts and Seeds, Roasted Red Pepper, Sauce, Sherry Vinegar, Vinegar