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Course: Sauces & Condiments
Keyword: Condiments, Dairy-Free, Make-Ahead, Sauces, Smoky Romesco, Vegetarian

Smoky Romesco Sauce

Smoky romesco sauce in a grey bowl surrounded by pieces of grilled, toasted baguette.
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour
Yield: 2 cups
Originally, seafood-friendly romesco sauce was composed of almonds, garlic, oil, and often stale bread. But tomatoes and chiles were added after the Columbian exchange made them available on the Iberian Peninsula.
The version we assemble today differs from many classic interpretations in that it is smoked...or mostly smoked.
Any, and I do mean any, grilled white fish can be rescued by smoked romesco: cod, snapper, striped bass, and if you’re not a fish person, roast potatoes all day long.
This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats: The Return.
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Software

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1 1/2 ounces stale French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Specialized Hardware

Hardwood chunks
Smoker
Toaster oven
Food processor
Smoky romesco sauce in a grey bowl surrounded by pieces of grilled, toasted baguette.
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour
Yield: 2 cups

Procedure

  • Set up your favorite smoker and add a handful of hardwood chunks. If you have heat control, set it to whatever position will give you moderate heat: 180 to 200ºF. Allow the wood to smoke for approximately 30 minutes before adding food.
  • While the smoker is heating, position an oven rack 5 inches below the broiler and set the broiler to high.
  • Halve the peppers lengthwise, discard the seeds, place cut-side down on a half-sheet pan, then broil, rotating the pan halfway through, until the skins are charred, about 10 minutes. (Or you can char them over your gas cooktop burners if you have them. It's a little messy but darned efficient and fun in a medieval kind of way.)
  • Transfer the peppers to a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside for 15 minutes, then slip the charred skins off the peppers with your hands. (Doing this under running water helps.)
  • Spread the tomato paste into a thin layer on piece of parchment paper and place on a wire rack along with the peppers and garlic. Smoke for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a toaster oven to 400ºF and toast the almonds until light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Set up a food processor with an S-blade (the normal processing blade) and load in the bread cubes, smoked peppers, garlic, and tomato paste, the toasted almonds, sherry vinegar, and salt. Pulse until uniform but still chunky, then leave the motor running while you add the oil in a constant stream. (Do this fairly quickly so that the sauce doesn't puree completely.)
  • For full flavor, wait a couple of hours to serve at room temp. To store, cover tightly and refrigerate for up 10 days or freeze in ice cube trays for easy dosing.
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