Like any respectable spread, you quickly find yourself (and, let's be honest, I'm speaking from first-hand experience here) using it any and everywhere, from amping up your morning avocado toast to pair with grilled spatchcocked chicken as a topping for scrambled eggs, or as a very much welcome addition to your next grilled cheese.
Before we go much further, we should say what this is not. This is a dip inspired by Spain's ubiquitous Romesco sauce, but it is not an authentic recipe for that.
You see, romesco is a sauce that comes from Spain's Southeast Catalonia region though it often appears on tapas menus across the country. You'll find variations on the recipe, but the most common base is roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, nuts, olive oil, and a local pepper known as nyora pepper. This all gets mixed by hand in a mortar and pestle for a rustic puree whose texture is not unlike a classic pesto sauce.
The result is a sauce that is a bit smoky, tangy, a touch sweet, and totally delicious. It was traditionally served with fish but went with all the things. If you want to make the from-scratch classic romesco sauce, this recipe is a good place to start.
We gotta sauce for all the "classic" and "authentic" references we just made: romesco dip is not a dish you find in Spain. Sure, you'll see romesco sauce used in myriad ways, but it's not sold as a dip like, say, hummus is here in the States.
This dip came about because we were traveling in Spain and found ourselves eating the Romesco sauce right off the spoon and wishing we had more. And because we wanted it on everything from crusty bread to crudites.
Because the nyora pepper is hard to find stateside, we use roasted bell peppers in this recipe instead. After years of using roasted tomatoes and tomato paste, we nixed them because they make it a bit watery. However, if you have garlic confit or slow-roasted garlic on hand, add it instead of the raw garlic to enhance the flavor.
This dip can be made up to 4 days ahead of time so you can make it ahead for a party or keep it in your fridge for a healthy, plant-based snack. If you're looking to make more of a meal, this will go great along with a meal starting with these Falafel Wraps, as part of a cocktail party spread along with these Zucchini, Avocado, and Olive Crostini. or with these Mini Chicken Shawarma.
(about 1 cup)
peeled and cut into quarters
(with tender stems - about 1/2 ounce)
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