The Case of the Promiscuous Romesco

By • August 24, 2010 • 38 Comments

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Author Notes: Romesco sauce is one of the secret weapons in my kitchen arsenal. Think of it as an unexpected drone strike next to your shellfish. It’s also pretty handy with pork or grilled onions. With a little crusty bread you are in the mood for love---well, except maybe for the onion part. pierino

Food52 Review: WHO: pierino is a spirited cook with a penchant for olive oil.
WHAT: A punchy, willful sauce that begs to brighten up anything on your plate.
HOW: After minimal amounts of chopping and roasting, it all ends with a quick blitz from a food processor.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This sauce is like our favorite black t-shirt: it goes with everything. And the very best part? You probably have all of the ingredients lurking in your pantry already.
The Editors

Serves 8, i hope

  • 2 to 4 dried peppers of your choice, but I like Spanish ?oras* or cascabels
  • 2 slices stale, crusty bread
  • 1 bowl of cold water
  • 3/4 cup light Spanish olive oil, like Arbequina
  • 3 to 4 ounces marcona almonds
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt
  1. For your romesco, cut the tops off of the peppers which you have soaked in that cold water for about two hours. Seed them and cut them roughly.
  2. Lightly toast the almonds. You can do this on the stovetop or in a sheet pan in the oven. I told you this was easy.
  3. Cut up your dried out bread into cubes, and then chop the garlic.
  4. Breathe deeply, this is not that hard.
  5. Place above ingredients in your food processor, and drizzle in olive oil and vinegar. Hit this with sea salt and there's your sauce.
  6. *Note: you can find ?oras online through La Española, but whatever dried pepper you use, please take note of the Scoville units. This is not a super-hot sauce. Peruvian dried peppers are just way too hot for this. The background character to romesco is almost floral.

Tags: savory

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Comments (38) Questions (0)


5 months ago Franca

I used 4 oz of bread and 1 cup of oil and it was nowhere near the consistency like in your picture. I think I will scale down on the bread next time. That being said, I don't know why I didn't try this sooner. Too delicious!


almost 2 years ago moseceltic

Loved the Romesco sauce I had in Spain and look forward to trying this. Can you describe the bread better? Size of slices or perhaps ounces? Thanks!


almost 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Moseceltic, you can use 1" thick slices from a baguette or boule of white yeast bread. It doesn't require much, really only about 8-10 ounces when it's all torn up. It does need to be on the stale side.


almost 2 years ago moseceltic

Many thanks!


almost 2 years ago arcane54

This is an amazing sauce. My first use was on a BLT! I used cascabels sourced from a local market that specializes in Mexican and Central American foodstuffs. It has a wee bit of heat -- just enough to awaken the taste buds. I used Trader Joe's "Spanish" olive oil and will try to find something that's more specifically from Arbequina olives. Perhaps another reason to travel south to California...


over 2 years ago Das_Muller


Made a couple batches for Christmas presents.


over 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

More notes: since I first wrote this recipe I've begun using California olive oils in place of the Spanish variety. Arbequina is a Catalonian cultivar which has become seriously popular in California. One of the easiest to find comes from California Olive Ranch, but there are other small production oils that are really great. As of about a month ago I started working in the olive oil biz so I get to taste this stuff everyday. They are harvesting and pressing right now.


over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Lucky you.


over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.



over 2 years ago buddhawasahindu

Love mussels in romesco, going to use this. Thank you!


over 2 years ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

congrats on being a finalist! i'm going to have to try with your pepper suggestions!


over 2 years ago wssmom

The powers that be at Food52 have declined to give me credit, but here is the review that steered them to this recipe:We weren't quite sure what the name of this recipe meant until we tried it - this stuff gets around! First, we made a batch and served it alongside some baked fish filets. Even though we didn't have to, we made another batch and served it with some grilled vegetables. Then we prepared some more and dunked some crusty bread in it. A fourth go-round wound up in the turkey carcass soup we made after Thanksgiving. Tonight's version will be slathered atop crab cakes. Talk about wanton and wild!! Wow! The only change we might eventually make will be to try it with roasted garlic instead of raw garlic, but then it wouldn't be quite so promiscuous!


over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Great review!


over 2 years ago Bevi

Thanks for posting your review - it's nice to know all the ways you enjoyed Pierino's recipe!


over 2 years ago zoemetro uk

This is what food 52 is all about "the powers that be" are you. ;-))


over 2 years ago lapadia

Your review broadens the horizon for Romesco, thanks for that, wssmom! And, great recipe Pierino, thanks for that :)


over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations on being a finalist! It's hard to beat romesco. Delicious on everything!


over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thrilled to see you as a finalist, this is a great recipe. Congratulations.


over 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

Love the dish - a true homage to stale bread!


over 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I guess now and forever my reputation will be linked to stale bread. Oh well...


over 2 years ago MileHiCook

What a great recipe. Thank you Pierino!


over 2 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

I was really pleased to see that this recipe was a finalist. I'd thought it might be ignored, because it's "just" a romesco sauce. What makes it special is pierino's specifying such great ingredients. So don't stint, FOOD52-ers. Or if you do, don't say, "I tried that romesco sauce, and it wasn't anything special."


over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congratulations! It's a great recipe.


over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so happy that you're a finalist! Congratulations! I love this recipe.


over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Congrats on the finalist status! So nice to see you getting recognition you so well deserve!


over 2 years ago dymnyno

I LOVE this! Congrats for being a finalist.


over 2 years ago PistachioDoughnut

This would be such a nice gift. Do I need to refrigerate it or can it stay at room temperature? I think it should be refrigerated, right. Congrats.


over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wonderful recipe. Especially because it gives me an excuse to head on over to the Spanish Table to run down those ?oras. My sons, who have lived/studied in Spain, will love this! (One of them is getting a jar of it in his Christmas stocking. We're kind of crazy that way here.) Congrats! ;o)