There only a handful of food combinations, I don’t particularly like. One, is fish and tomato. I could even say no, to a fantastic Bouillabaisse, given another choice. It was only until I visited Barcelona that my taste buds changed my mind permanently. Everywhere we went, the restaurants featured this sauce Romesco on the menu, which was almost always served with fish. Its a spicy, tomato based sauce but with a unique flavour. It originated from the fishermen who made this sauce by roasting together garlic, chillies, tomatoes and red peppers. Then they mixed it with -wait for it- almonds and bread. The result is a divine, almost addictive red sauce. I think it’s, by far the best way to use left over tomatoes, you stashed somewhere in the fridge. Romesco is not traditionally served as a pasta sauce, but believe me when I say, it is absolutely fantastic served with linguini. You will lick the plate, trust me.
- 800 gr mature tomatoes (about 6), halved
- 1 sweet red pepper (capsicum), halved without seeds
- 2 red (or yellow) onions, roughly chopped
- 2 chilli peppers, halved (no seeds unless you like it really spicy)
- 6 garlic cloves, left whole
- 1/3 cup olive oil plus 1 Tbs extra
- 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds
- 1 slice of day old bread (about 30 gr.), roughly chopped into large pieces.
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Large prawns, grilled
- A bunch of spring onions grilled
- Sliced lemons
Preheat oven to 175 C (345 F). Put tomatoes (cut side down), red pepper, chillies, onions and garlic in a baking pan and drizzle with 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes.
In a small saucepan, add 1 Tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add the almonds and sautee stirring frequently until fragrant and roasted. Remove with a slotted spoon. In the same saucepan add the bread and cook for a minute or so until lightly toasted. Take bread out of pan and put with the almonds.
Put baked vegetables in a blender with the almonds and bread. Blend until everything is very smooth. Put sauce in a bowl and add the vinegar and paprica. Serve with grilled prawns or any other fish or shellfish of your choice, with some grilled spring onions. Flavor the prawns with a squeeze of lemon.
Alternatively you can cook some prawns in the sauce, for a couple of minutes, and serve with pasta.