I must have been a Spaniard in another life, though I have no Spanish or Latin blood in my DNA at all. I say this because I seem to always be drawn to all things Spanish, especially its food and music. I love all the passion that goes into everything Spanish.
I wasn’t intentionally looking for a Spanish sauce to go with my cod the other day. I was just looking for a good flavorful sauce that would compliment my fish. But lo and behold, once again, I was drawn to a Spanish sauce that was the perfect choice. I chose a romesco sauce.
Romesco sauce originated in a city called Tarragona, in Catalonia, in the 1400’s. Tarragona is in the northeastern-most region of Spain that touches France. Tarragona is a port city, and the fishermen there made romesco sauce to liven up the day’s catches. The basic ingredients are tomatoes, nuts and garlic, but just like anything you can spice it up and change it around however you like. There is never just one way to make something, especially something that has been around for hundreds of years. There are always going to be many different and delicious variations. It is made with simple, everyday ingredients but it livens up anything it is served with.
I used cod this time around because this is what I had, but the sauce is good over any white fish or anything else for that matter. Romesco is a rustic, ruddy-hued, all-purpose sauce from Catalonia that is served with fish, poultry, meats and vegetables, and in stews.
Spanish Romesco Sauce
3-4 ripe tomatoes
1 TBSP garlic
2 dried ancho chilies
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water
5 TBSP red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 slices dried bread or about 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup almond slivers and/or hazelnuts
1 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste
Combine the water, red pepper flakes, 3 TBSP of the vinegar and the dried chilies in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover then let it cook for about 10 minutes. Once it has cooked, turn off the heat and just allow it to steep for at least 30 minutes. Then slice open the chilies and remove the seeds.
You can roast your tomatoes, or not. The choice is yours. This particular time, I did not roast my tomatoes because I used some tomatoes that were a little to soft to roast this time around. As always, I like to mix and match my tomatoes too. I just think it adds more layers to the flavor.
Once the chilies are done and the seeds have been removed, place them and all the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and pulse everything together until you have a thick sauce.
Allow the sauce to sit for at least an hour so all the flavors can blend in together before serving, then use it on whatever you like.
I served it over cod. This time I pan-fried my cod. I coated it in flour and salt & pepper then fried it up to a golden, crispy perfection.
Once my fish was done, it was time to serve everything up. I served it over pasta with some green beans and mushrooms, warmed bread and an olive oil dipping sauce, with a light chardonnay on the side. I topped it with a little Parmigiano cheese, chopped parsley and some toasted almonds. !Delicioso!
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.