Salsa Romesco atop grilled prawns.
How can we do a Spanish menu and not make Romesco sauce? As Núria says, it is the "Queen of the Catalan sauces!"
We first heard of Romesco sauce from Culinaria Spain. Unfortunately, the book did not contain the recipe itself, just one for salvitxada, which is very similar to Romesco.
But, I was set on making Romesco. It's so much easier to read and pronounce, after all. Can you imagine saying "salvitxada" over and over throughout the course of one evening? ;)
So, once again, we turned to Núria. Reading the recipe, it certainly wasn't hard. But, in any case, just to get as many tasks done in advance as possible, I decided to make our Romesco sauce for the party a couple of days beforehand.
Was I glad I did!
Yes, making the sauce wasn't hard, but was it ever time-consuming! Also, I thought the flavors were much better the following days.
Oooh, I didn't realize this could be entered into this edition of Weekend Wokking! We've been feeling guilty about not submitting anything in a while. The theme is CHILI PEPPER.
Ñoras (Dried Red Peppers)
When I read Núria's recipe, I thought I would have to make subsitutions for these ñora peppers, as I was sure I wouldn't be able to find them. But, strolling around the Italian supermarket (incidentally, the same one where we happened upon some bacalao), I saw these small boxes displayed beside smoked paprika and saffron. Score!
I soaked the peppers in hot water.
I had to remove the seeds and peel and use only the flesh. These peppers were small, and their flesh thin. My first reaction was, "What flesh?!! There's no flesh!"
But, I set to work and used a spoon to scrape off the thin flesh clinging to the skins.
The small yield.
Roasted Garlic & Roasted Tomatoes
I also had to roast some garlic and tomatoes for the sauce.
That was simple enough, except I left them in the oven a tad too long (more than 1 hour!), as JS and I were purchasing some morcilla sausage at a Portuguese shop and decided to swing by that same Italian supermarket mentioned above.
I squeezed the garlic out of their skins, and peeled the roasted tomatoes, discarding their skins.
Roasted Hazelnuts & Roasted Almonds
clockwise from top: roasted almonds; roasted tomatoes, peeled and seeded; roasted garlic; reconsituted ñora peppers, peeled and seeded; roasted hazelnuts, peeled
I also needed to roast some almonds and hazelnuts. Then, the hazelnuts also needed to be peeled.
Finally, my ingredients were ready to be made into Romesco sauce!
What were they again? Ah yes, they were:
reconsituted ñora peppers, peeled and seeded;
roasted tomatoes, peeled and seeded;
roasted almonds; and
roasted hazelnuts, peeled.
Also add to that list some olive oil, fresh garlic cloves, and salt (of course).
Although it wasn't an ingredient in Núria's recipe, I also added a touch of white wine vinegar to cut the richness of the nuts. I omitted the mint leaves just because we didn't have any on hand.
Everything got thrown into the blender.
This sauce goes well with seafood... or anything else! Here it is on some grilled prawns.
Romesco sauce has such a great, complex flavor.
In fact, several guests at the party thought it was akin to Southeast Asian sauces, like a peanut sauce and even a shrimp paste sauce! It just has that big boost of very multi-dimensional flavor.
When we ran out of prawns, I just ate it with plain, white rice; I saw a few people at the party doing this. It was still so delicious and satisfying just by itself that I couldn't really complain.
Recipe: Núria's Salsa Romesco
Note: I doubled the recipe and ended up with a huge amount of sauce.
Next up, the reason we made Salsa Romesco in the first place.
See the rest of our Spanish-themed New Year's Eve Menu here.
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eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
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Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
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We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.
The host this month is Wandering Chopsticks herself!
If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.
Check out all Weekend Wokking Roundups.