Recipe: Romesco Sauce & Roasted Veggie Sandwich

salsa romesco
Delicious salsa Romesco.

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.

Grilled Veggie Sandwich
My new favorite sandwich!

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)

Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

  1. Rehydrate the chilies by placing them in water overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
  2. When rehydrated remove the seeds.
  3. Roast the tomatoes, peel, and reserve.
  4. Roast the garlic, take out of its shell, reserve.
  5. 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)
  6. Toast the bread
  7. Wait until everything has cooled to room temperature and then add everything into the blender.
  8. Blend well and then season with salt, paprika, and vinegar if necessary.
  9. Enjoy!
blanch almonds
The almonds will slide right out of their skin!

For the sandwich:

  1. 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!

Comments

  1. Thank you, this does sound like it would go well with white fish, I actually suspect you could probably substitute it for marinara sauce in a lot of traditional Italian dishes (anything involving fish or chicken) and end up with something really cool. Have you considered maybe doing something like chicken parmigiana with this sauce? I’ll bet it would be great with calamari, too.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  2. Your recipe sounds great! I haven’t been to an official calçotada yet, but I have eaten calçots and Romesco sauce in Barcelona restaurants. It’s so much fun peeling off long strips of the calçots, and the sauce is so delicious.

  3. The idea of those grilled onions has always fascinated me – one of these days, I will have to try it when our onions in the garden are just the right size. Love this sauce though, and it is good on just about anything – will be giving your version a try!

  4. I really like the idea of combining mediterranean veggies with nuts for this sauce which I haven´t had the pleasure of trying. Your “can´t be bothered cooking” solution looks wonderful and really, that´s the beauty of the kitchen. With your kind of know-how, every meal will be sensational.

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