This weekend at a barbeque at my friend Ros’ home I was reacquainted with Romesco sauce. A deep, earthy, smoky salsa made from roasted capsicum, chilli, tomato, onion and garlic. Pounded to a paste and thickened with nuts and a thick slice of sourdough bread. Served with blushing pink lamb backstrap fillets, it was deliciously moreish.
Originating from Catalonia in the north eastern part of Spain along the Mediterranean coast, it is said this sauce was traditionally made by fishermen to eat with their catch of the day. Vibrant and robust it also marries well with all manner of grilled meat and vegetables, and is often used as a dipping sauce. Here is my 5-2 fast day version based on a very recent article published in the Sydney Morning Herald by Frank Camorra. I believe it is the recipe that inspired Ros, and in turn has now inspired me. At only 55 calories per tablespoon sized serve it made a simple meal of oven roasted blue eye cod (240 calories per 200g serve) and steamed green beans and asparagus (28 calories per cup serve) truly sensational.
Adapted from a recipe by Frank Camorra in an article The Green Revolution published in The Sydney Morning Herald 28/09/2013
Makes 2 cups (24 tablespoons) (55 calories per tablespoon)
2 ripe vine ripened tomatoes (70 calories)
1 garlic bulb, about 12 cloves (48 calories)
2 red capsicums (64 calories)
1 long red chilli (18 calories)
1 brown onion, unpeeled (46 calories)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. (240 calories)
60g hazelnuts (377 calories)
60g almonds, blanched (345 calories)
1 thick slice 2-day-old sourdough bread (96 calories)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (6 calories)
2 tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar (6 calories)
juice of 1 lemon (4 calories)
PREHEAT oven to 180C. Line two oven trays with baking paper.
PLACE whole tomatoes, garlic bulb, chilli, capsicums and onion onto the first tray. Roast in hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove the tomato and garlic from the tray and continue roasting the remaining vegetables for another 20 minutes until the capsicum and chilli are slightly charred, and onion very soft Remove and set aside.
SPREAD the nuts onto the second tray and roast for 10-15 minutes until golden. Remove the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing in a clean tea towel.
WHEN vegetables are cool enough to handle, peel tomatoes, discard skin and roughly chop. Squeeze garlic cloves from their skins. Peel charred skin from capsicums and chilli. Discard stalks and seeds and roughly chop flesh. Remove and discard onion outer skin, roughly chop flesh.
HEAT olive oil in a heavy-based frypan over medium heat and fry bread for about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on paper towel and set aside to cool.
BREAK bread into rough pieces and whiz in a food processor with nuts until coarse breadcrumbs form.
ADD paprika, vinegar and roasted vegetables and process until well blended but still coarse in texture.Stir through the freshly squeezed juice of one lemon. Set aside until ready to use.