Say goodbye to your tired sauce recipes. This concoction from northeastern Spain will spice up your next dish.

by Dani Yokhna
Romesco on polenta
Photo by Rhoda Peacher

Serve romesco on polenta, spread it on grilled bread or serve it with roasted winter squash or with grilled meat. Ancho chilies are flavorful but not especially hot; substitute another mild chili, if you prefer.

Serving Size: 1/2 cup


  • 2 ancho chili pods or 2 to 3 medium-hot, roasted peppers (fresh or jarred)
  • 3/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander or 2 T. fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika or 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • fresh, ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 roasted sweet red peppers, fresh or jarred
  • 1 T. tomato paste or 2 plum tomatoes, seeded
  • 1 tsp. red-wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1 T. hazelnut oil (optional)

Remove stems and seeds from peppers. If using dried pods, reconstitute in warm water for 15 minutes. To roast fresh peppers, hold each pepper over grill or gas flame with a pair of tongs. Put charred peppers in brown paper bag and seal for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove peppers and rub off blackened skins. Combine nuts, garlic, salt and spices in food processor. Add olive oil, as needed to form a thick paste. Add remaining ingredients, adjusting the amount of hazelnut oil to taste.

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