Summer Sauce Sensation: Spanish Romesco by Brandy Fernow

I love when that last bell of school rings and summer rushes into our house. We quickly go from school, sports and meetings, to pool and beach time, hiking and exploring nature, and of course cook-outs and backyard parties. 
Spending the entire day outdoors and lingering into the night is a happy summer routine for my family. What it doesn’t leave is a lot of time in the kitchen prepping long meals. My solution is keeping it simple and fresh, and leaning on items I can re-configure throughout the week. My summer go-to sauce is a Spanish-style Romesco. 
Romesco is a rich sauce made with charred peppers, pureed and thickened with nuts. I add chipotle pepper with a bit of adobo sauce for warm heat, as well as lemon juice and parsley for brightness and balance. It is a gorgeous hue that not only tastes fantastic but looks amazing on just about anything. 
I always make at least a double batch (it freezes beautifully), and most often enjoy it on a simply seasoned white fish. However it is also great drizzled over shrimp, chicken, pork or a roasted cauliflower steak. Later in the week I will toss it into cooked pasta or roasted potatoes. With my kids on the go, it will be packed into a snack with pita chips and veggies for dipping. Those summer nights when the neighbors all end up in our driveway or backyard, I will pull it out with sliced baguette to share with a great summer wine. If you try it, you will find even more fabulous ways to work it into your go-to summer repertoire.
We can all take a nod from the Spanish on not only this great sauce, but also around enjoying great food and friends as an art. I hope we all find ourselves doing the same all summer long.
Chipotle Romesco Sauce
  1. 2 red bell peppers
  2. 1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
  3. 1 chipotle in adobo, seeds removed
  4. 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  5. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  6. ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, leaves only
  7. Zest of a lemon
  8. Juice of ½ a lemon
  9. 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. Roast the bell peppers over a gas burner (or broil) until skins have blackened and blistered. Remove and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic film and let steam for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape off skin. Discard the seeds and stems.
  2. In a dry sauté pan, toast the hazelnuts for a few minutes, until fragrant and starting to brown. Remove and let cool.
  3. In a food processor, add the peppers, nuts, chipotle, adobo sauce and garlic. Pulse to combine. Add the parsley, lemon zest, juice and salt and process until smooth. Serve over just about anything!
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