I found this recipe for Romesco sauce in Cooking Light’s June 2017 issue, but the inspiration comes from Bodega la Puntual in Barcelona’s El Born neighborhood, where we savored a fantastic version one evening.
* Question: At what point do I have to stop saying ‘recent’? We’ve been home a month already but I don’t want to let go of that carefree holiday vibe. Click the names to read all about our Barcelona and San Sebastián adventures. The Bilbao story will drop later this week.
Why This? Compared to typical appetizers found at the average BBQ this is a happy and healthy surprise. The sauce is super flavorful from the peppers and sherry vinegar with a hearty texture provided by ground almonds and rustic bread. Plus it’s another opportunity to eat more veggies. Good for you!
Set the Table: For BBQs and potlucks I like to set up one or two food tables so folks can serve themselves buffet-style. Spread them out to avoid a bottleneck. This dish works equally well on the Appetizers/Snacks table or with the Main Course. Maybe not the Dessert table, but hey, who am I to judge. I selected a big platter with a raised edge for the grilled vegetables – helps to catch any grilled juices or spilled sauce. Park a bowl of Romesco sauce right in the middle with a big spoon for scooping.
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Recipe source: Cooking Light June 2017 issue
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 red jalapeño or Fresno chile
- 1 (1 1/2-in.-thick) slice crusty bread
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup Marcona almonds
- 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ripe medium tomato, cored
- 3-5 different vegetables for grilling – your choice; we like zucchini, carrots, asparagus, and onions; thick potato slices are also nice
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Arrange garlic, bell peppers, chile, and bread on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil.
- Broil, turning occasionally, until vegetables are nicely charred and softened and bread is toasted, about 8 minutes for peppers and garlic and 4 minutes for bread.
- Transfer peppers and chile to a medium bowl; cover with the used foil and let steam.
- Tear bread into small pieces. Peel garlic. Finely chop bread, garlic, and almonds in a food processor.
- Peel, stem, and seed peppers and chile.
- Add remaining 1/4 cup oil, peppers and chile, vinegar, paprika, salt, and tomato to processor; process until almost smooth.
- Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Grilling the vegetables:
- Prepare the grill for a single zone, medium heat.
- Prepare the vegetables for grilling. With tubular veggies such as zucchini, carrots, and potatoes I recommend planks vs. slices as they’re less likely to slip through the grill grates.
- Toss the vegetables with 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil or olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss again.
- Place vegetables on the grill and cook until tender, turning periodically to create the grill marks. Tender veggies (such as asparagus and zucchini) will take less time to become tender – about 5 minutes. Denser vegetables like potatoes and carrots require more time on the grill – maybe 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them.
- If desired, the vegetables can be grilled a few hours ahead of serving time and served warm or at room temperature.