- 1, 1 inch thick slice of fresh, crusty bread, toasted and pulled into chunks
- 1/2 cup whole, unsalted almonds
- 1 large tomato
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, skins on*
- 1 to 2 red bell peppers, halved, seeds and cores removed
- 1 to 2 fresh cayenne peppers, stems removed**
- Approx. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Splash of sherry or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder, if desired
*Cut of the little bit of root end from the cloves to make it easier to remove the skins later.
**Substitute with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes if desired.
Preheat the oven to 375*F. Place the almonds on a smaller, ungreased baking sheet and roast for 3-6 minutes, until fragrant, then remove and set aside. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray (like Pam). Place garlic, tomato, bell pepper, and cayenne pepper on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Roast for approx. 20 minutes, until the skins of the tomato and bell pepper blisters and everything is tender. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then pull the skins off of the tomato, bell pepper, and garlic cloves and toss the skins. Add the roasted ingredients, bread, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, and salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve as a dip, spread, or sauce. Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Makes approx. 1.5-2 cups.
I am in love with making all kinds of pesto—spinach and walnut, basil and pine nut, mint and pistachio—and this sauce is a lot like a creamy pesto. Roasted almonds give it a nutty flavor and slightly gritty (in a good way) texture. Bell peppers and cayenne peppers add heat, while sweet and tangy tomato help mellow the heat. This sauce is incredibly versatile—perfect with just about any meat, great tossed with pasta or slathered on a piece of crusty bread, and lovely as a sandwich spread. It’s easy to make, absolutely delicious, and one of my all time favorite sauces.