I’m giving you a taste of Spain today, more precisely a specialty from the Catalonia region of Spain. Romesco is a famous sauce made with almonds, olive oil, bread and peppers. Traditionally made from dried nyora chilies, you will find as many ways of preparing this sauce as there are Catalonian cooks. Some add tomatoes to the recipe as well.
In the region, it is traditionally served with fish, poultry and meats, used as a dip for grilled onions and potatoes or slathered on toasted rustic bread. Think of using it much like you would pesto or salsa. The flavor gets better the longer it is sits and it freezes very well if you can resist eating it all in one day.
Since nyora chilies are not available where I live, I used roasted red bell peppers which should be available to most cooks. If you don’t have time to roast your own peppers, use jarred roasted peppers (packed in oil is the best).
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted lightly
- 1 c. homemade bread crumbs
- 1 c. roughly chopped roasted and peeled red peppers or 1 jar (14 oz.) fire roasted peppers
- 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
- 1 tsp. pepper
In a small pan, simmer the 2 cloves of garlic in the olive oil until soft. Remove the garlic and set aside. Let the infused olive oil come to room temperature as it will be used later. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until chopped fine. Add the reserved garlic and all the other ingredients except the oil to the food processor and pulse until a smooth consistency. Slowly drizzle in the oil while the processor is running. You should end up with a mayonnaise like consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If the romesco sauce is too thick, drizzle in a little more oil while processing.
I used my romesco sauce to go with simple and quick to prepare chicken breasts topped with an herb sauce.
Pechuga De Pollo (Chicken Breast) With Herb Sauce
- One chicken breast per person, butterflied and then pounded to even out the thickness, rubbed with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. each of minced fresh thyme, rosemary, and parsley (or your favorite herbs)
- zest of one lemon
- salt and pepper to taste (red chili flakes may be added)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Warm the olive oil in a small pan, add the garlic and simmer for one minute. Remove from the heat, add the herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Once the oil is infused with the garlic and herbs, then add the lemon juice and stir.
Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat. Place the oiled and seasoned chicken breast smooth side down in the skillet and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until brown. (If you have a cooking weight, it will help with even browning). Turn the chicken breast and cook until done. Plate the chicken and drizzle with the herb sauce. Serve with the extra sauce at the table.
A fresh herb sauce brings out the wonderful flavors of a simply cooked piece of chicken, fish or meat. Serving the romesco sauce on the side is not only a great condiment to the simple meal but adds a wonderful bright color to the dish as well. Once you try preparing romesco sauce, I think it will be a staple in your kitchen. My husband and I could have this sitting on our table most days…it is that good.