I originally made this Romesco sauce (sometimes it’s spelt romescu) because I’d bought some calçot onions and this the sauce that goes with them.
But as a sauce in its own right it’s outstanding – much too good to save only for eating with calçots. If you cook the pepper, tomatoes, onion and garlic on a smoky barbecue (fired with some oak or hickory) it becomes sublime.
It would also be good:
- As a soup – maybe with crispy bacon crumbled in
- As a pasta sauce – perhaps with some feta, but it has a strong taste of its own which would be a shame to spoil
- With chicken
- Over grilled vegetables
- As the Catalans do, with a Xató salad of chicory, black olives, anchovies and salted cod. Follow this link for a good recipe.
- It’s often served with seafood
- As a dip – as with calçots, only with other crudités such as carrots and celery
- over cavolo nero wrapped sausage and ricotta
- it’s good added to a gruyère, prosciutto and spinach panini
Recipe for romesco sauce
For about six to eight people if poured over chicken or grilled vegetables
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 1 very large red pepper or 2 small ones
- 5 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tbsp smoked salt
- Olive oil for frying
- 120 ml/½ cup red martini
- 50g/½ cup ground (not finely) almonds (or you can use hazelnuts or a mixture of both)
- 120 ml/½ cup water
- 1 tbsp semi-sweet smoked Spanish paprika – the authentic Catalonian version uses ‘nyora’ which is a type of sundried small round red pepper
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- You might want to garnish it with a frond or two of fennel or dill.
- Peel and chop the onion and fry gently in a saucepan which is NOT a non-stick saucepan – you’re going to use a metal stick blender later.
- Deseed and chop the pepper and add that in too, continue to fry gently for about five minutes
- Add the garlic and fry until the onion and pepper are both soft
- Core the tomatoes, then chop them roughly and add, continue frying gently for another couple of minutes
- Add all the other ingredients and simmer gently for about 15 minutes
- Blend in the saucepan with your stick blender