Romesco sauce: the recipe for the sauce to accompany calçots

Romesco sauce is the traditional sauce to accompany calçots. We describe the recipe step by step so that you can make a successful calçotada.

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It's time for calçots. From November to April (although January, February and March are the best months to eat them) we can enjoy this variety of tender onions originating in Valls, Tarragona, but which are becoming increasingly widespread throughout the nation. As well as being a traditional dish of Catalan gastronomy, the calçotada is a feast in which calçots are the leading light, although they are inseparable from romesco sauce. The calçots are roasted directly on the flame until they are black on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside, they are eaten with your hands, but not before having dunked them thoroughly in the traditional romesco sauce, an indispensable accompaniment that enhances the flavour of the onion. In the calçotadas, tradition dictates that diners should wear a paper bib so as not to end up with stained clothing.

As in almost any popular recipe, there are as many versions of romesco sauce as there are cooks. These are the essential ingredients to make a good romesco from a traditional recipe:

Ingredients of the romesco sauce

3 ripe tomatoes
  1 head of garlic
 1 slice of toasted bread
 15g of toasted almonds
 15g of toasted hazelnuts
 2 ñoras (sweet red pepper)
 250ml of olive oil
 100ml of vinegar


Romesco Sauce Recipe

1. The first thing is to rehydrate the ñoras. Soak them overnight or for at least for 4 or 5 hours. After that time, remove the seeds and keep the flesh.

2. Roast the tomatoes and garlic. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and add the tomatoes for 20 minutes and the garlic for 15 minutes.

3. Clean the tomatoes by removing the skin and seeds. Peel the garlic.

4. Use the heat of the oven to toast the slice of bread.

5. If the almonds are toasted, peel these. If not, toast the almonds and hazelnuts in a frying pan.

6. Add all the ingredients to the blender tumbler or kitchen robot, add the oil, vinegar, salt and chilli pepper and blend all the ingredients until a thorough mix of ingredients is obtained. Add salt, chilli pepper and vinegar to taste.

How to make a romesco sauce for calçots?

 If you don't have time, you can use the microwave instead of the oven to roast the tomatoes and garlic. In that case, you only need 4 minutes for the tomatoes and 2 for the garlic. Don't forget to cut the tomatoes and the head of garlic to prevent them from exploding.

•  It is important to peel the almonds and hazelnuts well if you do not want the sauce to be too dark.

 You can change the texture of the sauce with the bread. If you are going to use it for the calçots, it is better that the romesco is light so that it can penetrate will into them, but if you are going to use it as a spread, you can thicken it more.

 If you prepare the romesco sauce the day before, the flavour will be enhanced and the sauce will be tastier.

 You can also use romesco sauce to accompany grilled fish and vegetables and even to dress salads.