Every food has its history, and this romesco sauce has one more glorious than most. Hailing from Tarragona in Catalonia, it has been through six hundred years of developments and reiterations, and seen more changes to the political and social climates of Spain than we ever will. It’s been there, done that.
Originally created by fishermen in the fifteenth century, this romesco sauce is a classic in the truest sense of the word. We won’t be pretending we created this recipe – we didn’t. It comes from our amazing Catalan chef, Cris, and it’s one that needs to be shared.
Aside from obviously pairing well with fish, this romesco sauce goes with roasted calçots (a long sweet onion, much like a spring onion), peppers, and potatoes and whatever other veggies we can find at the mercado – and that’s what we’re interested in of course. It’s great as a dip and it can also be used as the dressing of a salad, with bitter greens complementing perfectly.
Romesco Sauce – it’s good to share
Whether you’re about to watch the Ball de Bastons, dance the Sardana, or even run the Correfoc, romesco sauce is all about sharing and enjoying, for social events and unwinding after a hard day at the beach. It’s not necessarily a nutritional queen (look at all that olive oil and white bread) but it’s not bad a way of getting some veg and nuts down you either. And where taste is king, sometimes you’ve just got to think, why not?
Catalan Romesco Sauce. This beautiful dish has been around for hundreds of years - you won’t find a better or more authentic piece of Catalan history.
- 3 tomatoes, medium sized (ideally raf or coeur de boeuf)
- ½ bell pepper (alternatively 2 tbsp bell pepper paste per half pepper)
- 12 almonds
- 12 hazelnuts
- 1 head garlic, small
- 3 oz bread (3 oz = 100g, ciabatta or similar works well)
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp paprika (ideally “pimenton de la Vera” but not imperative)
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F.
- Make a small cut at the bottom of the tomatoes. Then place the tomatoes and bell pepper on a baking tray. Cover very lightly with olive oil and a dash of salt.
- Cut the garlic head horizontally in two and add to the tray.
- Now off it goes into the oven. Roast for 20 -25 minutes. If you’re really short on time you can pop it all into a suitable dish and give it about 5 minutes on a low heat (650W is enough) in the microwave.
- In the meantime roast the almonds and hazelnuts in a pan on medium heat. No oil necessary!
- Once the roasted veggies and garlic are ready and cooled off a bit, add it all into a food processor including the nuts, bread, spices, olive oil and vinegar. The garlic cloves should pop out of their skin easily if you squeeze a little.
- Process all the ingredients until you have a paste. Alternatively, you can also use a hand blender. And there you have it. Your very own authentic Romesco Salsa is waiting to be dipped into!
- You can keep the sauce in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- Excellent with calçots, grilled potatoes, grilled peppers, eggplant, spring onion or as a dressing for a salad.
Thanks to Cris for passing us not only a recipe but also a part of her Catalan history. Very cool! Travelling to Barcelona? See if she has any cooking classes available.