Romesco-ish Sauce, White Fish And Grilled Vegetables
Fresh peppers and tomatoes sautéed with onions and garlic until sweet and jammy, blended with roasted almonds to make a sweet, savoury, satisfying sauce that is more than just a sauce. You will be making this all summer once you try it.
Romesco sauce makes whatever you put it on taste rich and satisfying. Usually sauces that pack this much punch are creamy or cheesy and rich in saturated fat. That’s alright sometimes, but it’s nice to get that satisfaction from something fresh and light.
Lots of recipes call for jarred peppers which I have never been a fan of so I peel and sauté fresh peppers which have a fresher, lighter taste. Hence why I call this version Romesco – ish.
The one warning I have about this recipe is it requires a lot of kitchen equipment – but if you wash as you go it is no problem at all. Plus, it’s worth it.
Romesco sauce comes from Catalonia where – so they say – fishermen would prepare it to go alongside their catch of the day. Here I have served it with fresh white fish and grilled vegetables, but because the almonds make it nice and filling you can leave the fish out and it makes fabulous vegetarian main course – cauliflower makes a lovely replacement for the fish.
1 tsp olive oil
1 small white onion
1 clove garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
200g fresh plum tomatoes
100g toasted almonds
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt, to taste
400g firm white fish such as hake, haddock or cod
50g plain white flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
baby new potatoes
courgette, asparagus, tender stem broccoli or green veg of choice
Sauce. Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Peel the bell peppers and finely chop. Nothing needs to be too precise as they will later get blitzed in the food processor, you just want them to be the same size so they cook evenly.
Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté onions and garlic until translucent, then add the peppers and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently until all has softened and reduced. Deglaze the pan by adding the vinegar, and once that has evaporated add the sugar. Roughly chop the almonds and place in the food processor with the cooked tomato and pepper mix, blitz until smooth.
Pour into a bowl and set aside while you prepare the rest.
Cut the fish into large bitesized pieces.
Place the flour in a flat bowl, add the salt and stir.
Crack the eggs into another bowl and whisk.
Place the breadcrumbs in a final bowl, add the paprika and thyme and stir to combine.
Panne the fish by placing it first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, setting aside onto a baking tray as you go.
Set aside. Bake in an oven preheated to 200°C and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.
Slice the potatoes into 1 thick pieces and place in a steamer basket over several inches of water in a large saucepan, cover with a lid and place over a medium heat. Steam until you can pierce them easily with a knife – this usually takes about 15 minutes. Be sure to check in while they’re cooking to make sure all the water has not evaporated. Once cooked remove from basket and place in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle over a small amount of olive oil – just enough to lightly coat – and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a heavy cast iron griddle pan and place the potatoes, wide side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until darkened and crispy.
Drizzle the asparagus with a small amount of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill in the same pan.
When all components are ready give each plate a large spoonful of romesco sauce and top with fish, potatoes, and vegetables, garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.