Romesco is the new hummus! I love fruit in its natural form… no glitz, no glam, just peeled or chopped. Contradictory to my healthy cravings, I tend to only partake in the veggie family at dinner time. Carrot sticks and celery as a stand alone snack give me as much as excitement as gearing up for a long work week – blah! Over the years I have learned that the allure of these earthy treats increases with some sort of dipping concoction.The processed ranch packet mixed in with fattening sour cream trend has thankfully passed. Raw almond or peanut butter with a slight drizzle of honey are the best quick fix option for your carrot type delights. Mediterranean hummus, a chickpea and herb blend, has gained popularity as another protein rich, healthy alternative. Like all things, this novelty will eventually no longer stimulate the taste buds. I’ve blown through roasted red pepper, cilantro, garlic, edamame, and olive flavored hummus to the point where I can’t even look at the Mediterranean olive bar at Wegmans any more. In desperation for a new snack dipper, I created this Spanish inspired Romesco sauce. Originally tested with my mother-in-law using an epicurious.com recipe, I’ve since then tweaked it to my liking. Tasty with raw or roasted vegetable spears as well as over grilled steak and chicken. For vegetarians, layer up rice, beans, and Romesco for a hearty and protein rich meal.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 tomatoes (roma or on the vine)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup mixture of roasted unsalted almonds and hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil
- salt and red pepper flakes to season
- Optional: 1 slice stale white bread (preferable straight from bakery:french, italian, etc.)
- 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley
Roast the garlic still in skin, red bell pepper, and tomato at 400 degrees. Pull out the garlic after 10-15 minutes, tomatoes after 15-20 minutes, and bell pepper after 20-30 minutes. All should be softened. Roughly chop tomato and bell pepper and squeeze juice out. In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients until smooth but with a slightly nutty texture. Serve chilled with vegetables or warm over meats. Tip: Add honey if desire a sweetness or greek yogurt for a creamy sauce.