Hot weather means cold food. We cook early in the day before our kitchen heats up. And we rely on a rotation of dishes to beat the heat including this Almond Romesco Sauce.

Spanish romesco sauce is made from charred tomatoes and almonds or walnuts, which give it a dark undertone. Almonds in place of walnuts and roasted red peppers in place of tomatoes changes the flavor profile, lightening the sauce.

There’s not much to making Almond Romesco Sauce is you use a food processor or blender. Keep scraping the bowl to achieve a uniform consistency. The fresh breadcrumbs give some body to the sauce because the olive oil binds with it. It’s the same principle as when making mayonnaise. The quick mixing of the ingredients while drizzling in the oil helps the mixture to emulsify. This is when I use the over overlooked feature on my Cuisinart food processor. There is a tiny hole in the cover on the lid. It is designed to slowly release oil into the mixture below. If you haven’t used it to make mayonnaise or other emulsified sauce before, give it a try.

Beans, broad beans, Italian purple beans and small onions.

What to do with this sauce? Serve it with crackers and raw vegetables of course.  The beans, broad beans, Italian purple beans and small onions, when cooked, will accompany this sauce. But romesco tastes great on grilled foods like sticks of zucchini, chicken legs, shrimp or skewers of lamb. I use it as a condiment on a sandwich I made with grilled zucchini and onions. Or on avocado toast.  It’s great tossed with fine pasta or a bowl of just-cooked green or yellow beans.

Kitchen Notebook

I try to incorporate almonds and other tree nuts in meals because they are satisfying. The hunger pains stay away a little longer when i grab a handful of roasted salted almonds in the afternoon. And almonds are especially healthful; they are high in d-alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), a plant source of beneficial antioxidants.

Almond Romesco Sauce

Yield: 14 - 15 ounces

Ingredients

½ cup whole almonds

1 slice country bread, ½-inch thick, crusts removed

2 large cloves of garlic

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces peeled, seeded roasted red peppers, about 2 large

Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon ground hot paprika

½ teaspoon ground cumin, optional

2 teaspoons Sherry or red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Roast the almonds at 350°F turning them every five minutes until nicely toasted and brown, for approximately 10 - 12 minutes. You’ll hear faint popping sounds as the moisture inside the almonds turns to steam and breaks through the skins to escape. Let the almonds cool to room temperature after roasting.
  2. Grind the bread into fine crumbs in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pour the crumbs into a small bowl and set them aside.
  3. Place the garlic and ½ teaspoon salt in the bowl of the food processor. Grind it into a paste. Add the red peppers to the machine. Grind to a coarse purée, for approximately 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl
  4. Add roasted almonds. Pulse then grind them for about one minute. Scrape the bowl and then grind until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper then add the paprika, cumin (if using) and vinegar. Process a minute or so, scrape the bowl.
  6. Add the bread and pulse until the bread is moistened.
  7. Add the olive oil a few drips at a time to emulsify the sauce. Serve immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

I try to incorporate almonds and other tree nuts in meals because they are satisfying. And they are a good source of unsaturated fat. Almonds are especially high in linolenic acid, a plant source of beneficial omega 3 oils.