Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")

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 garlic;
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:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Eggplant "Clafouti"
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways

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.


  1. I'm sooooo impressed with your romesco sauce!!! You found the ñoras!!! That's such good news :D. I think that a bit of wine is an exellent addition!
    Thanks so much for all your links to my place :D. I appreciate it a lot... know what? you inspired me for another dish... I will link you back, ok?

    Mmmmm... such a remarkable dish and Spanish menu in general. Great job couple ;D

  2. We love this sauce too & have even used it on pizza

  3. You've convinced me...I think it's time I really try making Romesco sauce.

  4. This looks so delicious. I want to drink the sauce!

  5. This sauce certainly sounds tasty!

  6. I'm intrigued by the fact that guests thought it might be shrimp paste. That's quite a difference. This reminds me of Mexican mole sauces. A lot of similar ingredients and deep, earthy taste.

  7. I love Romesco sauce and you have inspired me to make it. Mr. KC used to bring back bottles of the stuff when he travelled to Spain. He wasn't too pleased when a bottle broke and sauce oozed in his suitcase. Now I can have it at home.

  8. Nuria:
    Yehey, we get your seal of approval! =D

    Oh, as a sauce for pizza, you say. Now you have us thinking...

    It's fairly easy, just a tad time-consuming for lazybones such as me. =)


    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Yeah. Although, I could see how they would've mistaken Romesco for shrimp paste. It had a similar texture and I guess just a "hard-to-figure-out" flavor.

    Oh no! Romesco all over one's clothes and things in luggage is not where it belongs at all! Yeah, make it! I wonder how different it will be from the jarred versions.


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