romesco-ish dip

vibrant reds ::::

As you swim in sweet treats and roses for Valentine’s Day soon, you will certainly need a salty break. One cannot live on sugar alone, despite the pleas of sugar-for-every-meal-and-inbetween from my three-year-old daughter Peach. Push those chocolates off of those satin sheets, and dazzle your Valentine with a brilliant Romesco dip instead. And I will eat the chocolates for you.

This really isn’t Romesco sauce. It’s a Romesco-ish dip.  It’s an inspiration from tasting Romesco long ago, adapted to my pregnant food aversions months ago when I was pregnant with Grub. The real Romesco originated in Tarragona, Catalonia, and is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and red bell peppers. Roasted tomatoes are also added, as well as vinegar and onion. Bread is also used uniquely to thicken the sauce.

I love the intensity of sundried tomatoes, so these were my choice for the rich tomato flavor I wanted. Make sure you find a good quality brand as the oil in some brands may look and taste “muddy.” I don’t have any specific brand that I use, but inspect the jar for muddiness if I am not making my own sun-dried tomatoes. Roasted red peppers are about as close to heaven as one can get. I had no choice but to use these. The sour cream, obviously not Catalan, provides a rich creamy tang without being too heavy. I did not add the bread as a thickener as I felt the mixture was already thick enough for dipping without it running off of my crackers. I also skipped the garlic and onion that so many people would expect in a recipe like this, as 1) when I developed the recipe I was pregnant in my first trimester and the thought of onions, garlic, strong oils, or meats made me want to puke; and 2) adding onions or garlic to the recipe after said pukiness era didn’t add any increase in enjoyment of eating the whole batch in one day. No, I really didn’t do that. Well….

This dip also tastes great as a sandwich spread, or atop a cream-cheesed bagel. Your head may just explode if you put this in a grilled cheese sandwich.



romesco-ish dip
Recipe type: appetizer
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (Using whole almonds are fine too, just they may not break up as well in the food processor. The texture will be more chunky.)
  • 4 medium jarred roasted red peppers, drained and dried slightly (Making your own are even better, but you may need to increase the salt slightly.)
  • 8 sun-dried tomato halves, in oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  1. Toast almonds in 350 degree oven until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
  2. Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Taste to add more salt if needed. Makes just less than 2 cups (approximately 480 ml).
  3. Serve with pita chips or crackers. May be served at room temperature or chilled. It can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.
Other variations: Try walnuts instead of almonds, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and maybe even a dash of balsamic vinegar. And garlic. If you must.

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