Shrimp in Romesco Sauce ~ serve this grilled shrimp and bold roasted red pepper sauce along with some crusty bread for a Spanish style tapas menu. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the return of warmer weather.
This kind of easy eating is what I live for, without a lot of bells a whistles, just good simple ingredients with a hint of drama. And it’s become a catch phrase around here, but this shrimp in romesco sauce can be a hearty appetizer or an elegantly light supper (whichever way you go, you’ll almost feel that Mediterranean breeze!)
Romesco sauce is a raw Spanish (Catalonian to be specific) sauce, like an Italian pesto, that gets blitzed in a food processor. The vibrant flavor will blow you away, it’s so unusual. Roasted red pepper, garlic, almonds, tomato, Sherry vinegar (my favorite) smoked paprika, and cayenne go into your machine, and after a few quick pulses, out comes this rich red sauce with tons of flavor and a great rough texture.
Romesco sauce is unrivaled for its glorious red color. Marinara sauce can’t touch it. Only the Syrian Muhammara comes close. It’s the roasted red peppers, they give the sauce that true vivid red. The peppers are sweet peppers, so the sauce isn’t hot by nature, but it can be if you like. I’ve added some cayenne pepper and smoked paprika for a bit of heat. You’ll adjust them to your taste.
Delicious ideas for how to use romesco sauce ~
Romesco is really a healthy, all purpose sauce, and there are lots of ways to use it…
- It can be as simple as a spread for great fresh crusty bread or grilled bruschetta. Serve some Manchego or goat cheese on the side.
- Serve it the same way you would hummus, as a dip for everything from pita chips to veggie sticks.
- I like to use it as a raw sauce for pasta, just like I use pesto.
- Spread it on pizza instead of tomato sauce.
- Use it as a base for grilled fish or baked eggs.
- It makes a great sandwich or burger spread.
- Use it as a marinade for chicken.
- Stir it into soups for an added pop of flavor.
Whether you’re sharing with friends or chowing down with the family, a Savignon Blanc pairs well, and on the red side, a Beaujolais or Pinot Noir would be nice. And for another easy shrimp dish with an exotic flair, try my Argentinian Chimichurri Shrimp it represents the other end of the color/flavor spectrum!
Reader Rave ~
“Oh Sue, I just LOVE your recipes!
I forgot to buy the tomato paste and blitzed some sundried tomatoes instead. Put in some of the olive oil that they’d been preserved in. The end result was great, even greater with just a squish of lemon juice at the end.
Thanks for your great recipes!!!” ~ Marilyn
There is no one recipe for romesco sauce, and so there are lots of different interpretations out there. Mine is lightly adapted from Bon Appétit.
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, cleaned and shelled, tail on or off, your choice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 8 ounces roasted red peppers (mine were from a jar but you can roast them yourself)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds, unsalted (whole, slivered, or sliced)
- 3-4 Tbsp tomato paste, I used the kind from the tube (you can also use tomato puree)
- 2-3 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more for more heat)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff!)
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley leaves for garnish
- Put all the sauce ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse to combine. Then, while the machine is running, slowly pour in the oil to make a loose but thick sauce. Taste to adjust any of the flavors. The flavor is enhanced by letting the sauce sit for a few hours or up to a few days ahead, refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
- Coat the bottom of a skillet lightly with oil and heat until hot. Cook the shrimp on both sides until they have turned opaque and the shells have curled. This will only take a few minutes. Remove from the pan.
- Add the sauce to the bottom of the pan and nestle the shrimp into the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with some good crusty bread.
Make it your own ~
- This romesco sauce is decidedly the from-the-pantry version, but you can get as authentic as you want and roast your own peppers and ripe tomatoes, or even use the traditional Spanish dried Ñora peppers.
- Hazelnuts are sometimes used in place of the almonds.
- The next time I make this I think I’ll add a handful of good olives, either black or green.
- You could serve the shrimp cocktail style, with a dish of the romesco sauce in the center for dipping.