I roasted several Red Peppers the other day and then didn't use them as I expected to for Bruschetta. So, I made them into a Romesco Sauce instead. This is a Spanish sauce, - actually it's from Catalan - that combines roasted Red Peppers with Garlic and Olive Oil and ground Almonds or other nuts like Hazelnuts or Pine Nuts. Some cooks add in some Tomato Paste, but I like the pure faste of the Peppers. Others add some Smoked Paprika, which is good, but I think it tends to dominate the flavor. In a pinch, you can use bottled roasted Red Peppers, but it just doesn't have the same depth of flavor. I keep it simple and the end result is a delectable dip or spread that I think is just perfect for Sandwiches - my personal favorite is to make Chicken or Roast Beef Sandwiches with it or to serve it with broiled Fish. Originally it was developed to be served with grilled Fish and even as a dip for grilled Spring Onions. I often serve it as a dip with Rice Crackers and really, anyway that you serve it, Romesco Sauce is delicious!
3 Medium Red Peppers, cut in half, seeds and membranes Removed
1/2 - 3/4 cup Raw Whole Almonds (no need to peel)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil for roasting + 2 additional Tablespoons for Sauce
2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 large Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Optional: 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste or 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika (Pimenton)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with parchment. Take the 6 Pepper Halves and drizzle 2 Tablespoon of the Oil over the cut side. Turn over and drizzle the remaining 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil over the top. Place in the oven and roast until the tops of the Red Peppers become lightly blackened and blistered - about 25 minutes. Remove Peppers to a bowl with Tongs and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let steam for an additional 20 minutes. When cool, peel off the skin and cut into strips. There should be about 1 - 1/2 cups.
Place the Almonds in a food processor and finely chop them - if there is more than 1 cup Red Pepper, use 3/4 cup almonds. Add in the roasted Red Peppers, the 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, the Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic Clove and Salt. You can also add in the Tomato Paste or Smoke Paprika if you are using them. Puree until smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve at room temperature.
Five Element Analysis
With the main ingredient being Red Peppers, this is a Fiery food and Tomato Paste and Smoked Paprika, if you use them, add even more Fire. The Wood Element is seen in the Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar. The Almonds bring in the Earth Element. The Water Element is missing, which is why this sauce would be so good with Fish and I serve it with Rice Crackers which contributes the missing Metal Element.