Photo: Romesco with Beefsteak (Clifford A. Wright)



Difficulty: Easy but long cooking time

Yield: Makes about 3 cups of sauce
Preparation Time: 2: 30 hours

Romesco sauce is originally from Tarragona. In Tarragona this preparation is as typical of the region as is paella in Valencia. Anton Gelabert, a painter from Barcelona wrote a book of romesco sauce called Llibre dels romescos. It is not important as a dish but is the sauce that goes with suquet, a fish stew, although the dish is called romesco. Suquet is a class of fish sauces, and means, literally, culinary preparation. Romesco is a vinegary-almondly sauce that begins with a sofregit of onions, garlic and tomatoes. This particular recipe I saw demonstrated at the now defunct Florian restaurant at Bertrand i Serra 20 in the Sant Gervasi section of Barcelona. The demonstration was held by the chef and owner Rosa Grau and her sous-chef Enrique Martin. I have adapted the recipe to be more suitable to an American home kitchen. Guindilla chiles are a mild chile and the chile you almost always find as a garnish on top of tapas in Barcelona bars. They can be replaced with any finger-type chile that’s not too piquant, such as Italian pepperoncino chiles.

1 large slice Italian or French country bread, crust removed

3/4 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted in an oven until turning color

4 medium onions, finely chopped

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more if necessary

2 heads garlic

9 large plum tomatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut in half, seeds squeezed out, and grated against the largest holes of a grater

2 roasted guindilla (finger) peppers, peeled, cored, and seeded

4 large roasted red bell peppers, peeled, cored, and seeded

3/4 cup good quality red and white wine vinegar (mixed)


  1. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the bread until golden on both sides. Remove and place in the food processor with the almonds. Process until fine. Remove and set aside.
  2. Put the cut up onions in the food processor. Pull 6 cloves off of one of the heads of garlic, peel, and chop and place in the processor with the onions. Process both until very fine.
  3. In a earthenware casserole (preferably), heat about 6 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the sofrito of onions, garlic, and tomatoes until quite dense, about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. (If using a non-flameproof earthenware casserole make sure to use a heat diffuser. If using a regular flameproof casserole, use a reduced heat, perhaps medium-low). This is the romesco.
  4. Place the bell peppers and chiles in a saucepan or skillet with the wine vinegar and reduce the vinegar by three-quarters over high heat. Pour the peppers, along with the almonds and bread, into the casserole with the onion and tomatoes and cook until thick, about another 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer the romesco to the food processor again, in batches if necessary, and process as you drizzle in 4 to 6 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, making sure that you do not process for more than 20 seconds.