Stale bread? Burnt peppers? And almonds? These unlikely ingredients make our vibrant orange Romesco the most celebrated food from the Catalonia region of Spain. It's nutty like pesto but has a punchy kick from smoked paprika and cayenne, and a rich creaminess from fresh olive oils. Serving options seem limitless, but here are a few of our favourite ways to use Romesco:
Lively sauce for fish and seafood
Spicy topping for pasta dishes
Spread for toast or artisanal bread
Robust sauce for grilled or roasted chicken
Dip for grilled, roasted, sauteed or fresh veggies

MAKES: 1 cup

1 large, thick slice crusty bread, cut in roughly 3" cubes
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (Spanish)
2 medium roasted red bell peppers (or store bought jar)
1 large fresh tomato, cut in half, seeds and pulp removed
3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/2 cup whole, skinless, blanched almonds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 to 2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup red wine red wine (Sherry Reserva) vinegar
1 tsp salt
(Option: In place of cayenne add one small red chili pepper, cored and seeded)


Heat oven broiler to high. Place rack close to broiler element. Place peppers on baking sheet. Broil for 2 minutes each side until completely charred and blackened. Remove from oven and place in ice cold bowl of water. Wait 2 minutes then, by hand, easily remove skin, core and seeds. Set aside in small bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil to saute pan. Heat to medium-high. Add garlic and cook until barely golden. Remove and set aside. Add cubed bread and fry until golden. Drain on paper towel. Place garlic, almonds, tomato, vinegar, bread, peppers and any liquid in bowl, salt and paprika into food processor. (If using a blender you can add a small amount of water to prevent clogging the blade.) Process for 45 seconds or until a coarse, ground mixture is made. With blade running, slowly add remaining olive oil. Add more if necessary until mixture is creamy. Remove sauce from processor, scraping sides, then place in covered container until ready to use. Heat on low before serving.