Besides a few trips to Barcelona, I really haven’t had the opportunity to explore Catalonia. But I have heard about the famously delicious Romesco sauce— the rich and nutty sauce that accompanies the traditional calçotada (a traditional Catalan barbecue featuring green onions), which is also known as Salvitxada in Catalan. I haven’t had the pleasure of attending a calçotada (yet) but it is certainly on my list.
After trying Romesco sauce for the first time in Logroño, I was hooked. The perfect condiment for grilled vegetables or white fish, I knew I had to figure out its secrets and make it myself.
The day after making it I was thinking about what to make for lunch. I wanted something quick and easy– I wasn’t in the mood to cook. So I decided to buy nice baguettes, smother them in delicious Romesco sauce, and stuff them with leftover grilled chicken and vegetables. Unorthodox? Maybe. But they were absolutely delicious, rivaling the Serranito in my favorite sandwich ever.
Here is the recipe I used for the sauce. It is a bit time consuming to roast everything first, but well worth it to create the rich flavor of the Romesco sauce.
Salsa Romesco (makes 2 cups)
- 2 ripe medium tomatoes, oven roasted
- 1 head of garlic, oven roasted
- 2 dried ñora peppers (or any other mild dried chili pepper), rehydrated in water overnight
- 12 blanched almonds (or buy raw almonds in the first place, no skin or salt)
- 15 blanched hazelnuts
- 1 hearty slice of a toasted baguette
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil (quality is important!)
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 roasted red pepper (jarred or canned), drained
- A pinch of cayenne pepper or 1 dried cayenne
- A pinch of sweet smoked Spanish paprika
- Salt to taste
- Rehydrate the chilies by placing them in water overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- When rehydrated remove the seeds.
- Roast the tomatoes, peel, and reserve.
- Roast the garlic, take out of its shell, reserve.
- Peel the almonds and hazelnuts if necessary (Boil water, then add nuts for only 1 minute, strain under cold water and hen the skin pops off)
- Toast the bread
- Wait until everything has cooled to room temperature and then add everything into the blender.
- Blend well and then season with salt, paprika, and vinegar if necessary.
For the sandwich:
- Smother a fresh baguette with the Romesco sauce and add roasted vegetables like onion, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, tomato, etc. Add some grilled chicken too.
Until I can compare it to the Romesco sauce in Catalonia, this will have to do. Luckily, this sauce lasts in the fridge for a couple of months due to all that vinegar, so you can make it in big quantities.
Have you ever tried Romesco sauce?
This recipe has been brought to you in part by:
While I haven’t been busy cooking I’ve been working on cool things like this Insider’s Guide to Madrid. I wrote this mini guide for the Cheap Flights Canada site, where they are promoting their Madrid travel options and their routes with United Airlines. Check them out for cheap travel tickets!