Romesco is a rich sauce of charred tomatoes and roasted red peppers, puréed and thickened with toasted almonds and bread. It is a lovely shade of red and is extremely flavorful and warming, but not spicy hot. It is one of the favorite sauces in Spain and has inspired many versions. In our recipe, the smoked almonds give it a special twist. Other nuts such as peeled hazelnuts can be substituted. A very versatile sauce, romesco works well with most proteins: fish, chicken, shrimp, and pork would all be great ideas, and to sweeten the deal, it makes a great dip for vegetables too.
Sumac, the tart coating of a dark red berry, is common around the eastern Mediterranean. It adds a nutty but tart taste, and is a terrific partner for goat. Sumac can be found in most Middle Eastern markets.
Zatar (meaning thyme in Arabic) can be substituted if available for the spice and herb mix and generally contains a combination of sumac, marjoram, and thyme, along with other complimentary spices. It is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle East cuisine.
This recipe is by chef Ben Spangler. Hailing from Minnesota, Ben draws from his Midwestern roots to create dishes that are unpretentious and delicious. Ben has competed on national television for the Food Network and appeared on local Minneapolis food networks. He is currently executive chef at Mercy in Minneapolis.
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 Tablespoon sumac
1 Tablespoon sliced garlic
3 Tablespoons chopped herbs, such as rosemary, marjoram and thyme
1 ea whole egg
1 ea egg yolk
6 oz panko
3 oz bread crumbs
3 oz Parmesan cheese
- Mix salt, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, sumac, herbs, garlic, cheese and bread crumbs
- In a separate bowl mix meat with eggs until fully incorporated add dry mix
- Once blended completely roll into 2 oz meatballs and put in fridge uncovered for 1 hr to fully hydrate bread crumbs
- Preheat an oven to 300F.
- Working in batches, ently brown the meatballs on medium heat on 2 sides
- Once all seared add back to the pan and with 2 c romesco and enough water to almost cover meatballs
- Cover with lid and braise 300 °F for approximately 3.5 hrs
- Allow to cool until warm
1.5 lb roasted peppers
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons chives
5 ea Garlic cloves
4 oz Smoked almonds
8 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 oz Pepperoncini
4 oz Breadcrumbs
- Pulse roasted peppers in blender with the garlic, salt, pepper, half the chives, and pepperoncini, then puree.
- Add almonds and process until smooth then add 1/2 of the bread crumbs, puree again, then add the remaining breadcrumbs.
- Slowly drizzle in EVOO. Results should be thick, slightly rough and textured.
- Let the sauce stand for an hour at room temperature for flavors to blend.
- Place 2 oz romesco on center of plate and add meatballs, garnish with 1 Tablespoon pepperoncini, pea tendrils if using, parmesan and chives, then serve immediately.