Romesco Sauce

Get Piquant With Piquillos


Preparation info

  • Makes

    2 cups

    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      45 min

Appears in

Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

Well Fed 2

By Melissa Joulwan

Published 2013

  • About

Romesco is a traditional red pepper sauce from Catalonia, Spain. It makes the most of simple Mediterranean ingredients like extra-virgin olive oil, almonds, garlic, and paprika, transforming them into a flavorful, rugged sauce. Served with fish, poultry, pork, and vegetables, it’s both rustic and sophisticated. This recipe uses sweetly spicy piquillo peppers — which can be found roasted and jarred in most grocery stores — and results in a texture similar to salsa.


  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 2-3 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon paprika (smoked is especially nice)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (about cup)
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar piquillo peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar



    Cut the ancho chile in half lengthwise and remove the stem, ribs, and seeds. (It’s easiest to do this with kitchen shears, rather than a knife.) Place in a medium-sized bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside for 30 minutes.

    Heat the oil in a large, non-stick skillet over very low heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re golden, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, and stir until lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, and salt, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    Drain the ancho chile and chop it, then add it to the pan. Cook about 2 minutes. Add the tomato; stir, and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the piquillo peppers, stirring to combine everything. Cook an additional 3 minutes or so while you daydream of the craggy shores of the Mediterranean.

    Carefully (!) transfer to the bowl of a food processor and run the motor until it’s almost smooth — I saw this described in one recipe as “nubbly.” Add the vinegar and pulse until combined. Allow to cool to room temperature before eating. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.