Patatas al Romesco

The other day I discovered Romesco sauce.  I’m never going back.

Romesco is a rustic sauce that hails from the Northeast Spanish region of Catalonia.  Originally created to serve with seafood, this versatile sauce has evolved to be served with nearly any dish from vegetables to red meats.

But the best part of this sauce is that there is no golden standard for the recipe.  It varies widely between regions and even from household to household, meaning an there are endless variations to taste and try.  My version forgoes one of the more common ingredients, roasted red peppers, to allow the more delicate flavors of tomato, paprika and almond to shine through in the dish.  The end result is a medium bodied, tangy, surprisingly refreshing sauce

This dish pairs the Romesco with a classic Spanish side that truly lets the sauce shine: fried potatoes.  The crispy, earthy potatoes provide the perfect contrast without distracting from this delightful sauce.  If you like this Romesco – and trust me, you will – don’t stop with potatoes; there’s no limit to the number of uses for this Spanish gem!

Patatas al Romesco

(Note: This recipe calls for blanched almonds.  If you don’t know how to blanch an almond, a how-to can be found here)

  • 1/4 cup almonds, blanched
  • 1 slice stale or toasted bread, torn into small pieces
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/3 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (smoked preferably)
  • 1 small jalapeño (optional)
  • 1 medium russet potato
  • salt and pepper

 

  1. Before starting the Romesco sauce, preheat the oven to 350° and let the potatoes bake for 25 minutes or until mostly cooked through.
  2. Lightly coat a frying pan with olive oil and heat to medium.  Toast the almonds and stale bread until lightly browned, approximately five minutes.  Add the onions, garlic and jalapeño (if you’re so inclined) and continue to saute until cooked through and translucent.  Empty the contents of the pan into a food processor.
  3. Roast or broil the tomatoes whole until skin begins to crack, approximately eight to ten minutes.  Add the tomatoes to the food processor.
  4. Add the paprika, vinegar and olive oil to the food processor and blend on medium until a sauce-like consistency is reached.  If the mixture is too thick, add additional olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and empty the sauce into a serving container.
  5. Dice the potato into half-inch cubes and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Lightly coat a frying pan with olive oil and fry the potatoes until golden brown, approximately eight to ten minutes.
  6. Serve the potatoes onto a place, drizzle lightly with Romesco sauce and serve.
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