In W*120, we celebrated Spring with the advent of Calçots - a giant spring onion-type vegetable from Spain. No Calçot is worth eating though without its sibling - romesco sauce. Every Catalan household has their own recipe for romesco sauce, the rich red dipping sauce that accompanies the flame-grilled calçots. Mónica Navarro and Ricky Mandle, the owners of Barcelona’s Delishop – a food retailer specialising in regional food - have shared their version with us.
Sauce for 4 people:
5 very ripe red tomatoes
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 slice of country-style bread
1 digestive cookie
35g roasted and peeled hazelnuts
15g roasted peeled almonds
2 ñoras (dried peppers)
5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
25cl Extra virgin Arbequina olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
**hot chilli peppers if you like it spicy.
1.Roast, preferably on a grill, or in an oven at 250º, the tomatoes and garlic until soft but not burnt (about 15 minutes).
2.Toast the bread and the cookie in the oven until golden, toasted evenly, and dried, but not burnt (about 5 minutes).
3.Remove tomatoes, garlic, cookie and bread from oven and peel the garlic cloves and tomatoes. (If the tomatoes are very watery you may want to cut them in quarters to allow some of the extra liquid to drain out before continuing).
4.Place the tomatoes, garlic, cookie, bread, hazelnuts, almonds and ñoras in a mortar and mash to a form a paste. (To save time and energy, use an electric blender).
5.Once a paste has formed, add the vinegar and continue to blend.
6.Add the oil in a steady stream mixing constantly (if using an electric blender, set speed to low before adding oil in a steady stream).
7.Add salt and pepper according to taste. Set in a bowl and chill.