La cuina de Catalunya: roasted Catalan romesco, seared scallops, and Made in Spain.

Vieiras con romesco/Scallops with roasted Catalan sauce

Ever since we got back from Spain, the number of grey, rainy, and unseasonably cold days we’ve had at home has been significantly higher than we usually get this time of year. I think it temporarily stymied all of that wonderful inspiration that accompanied me home from Barcelona and Caldetes because last Tuesday I mulling over what I wanted to make for dinner that night and had absolutely no ideas whatsoever. Remembering that I now had the first season of Made in Spain on DVD, I immediately went to the website to see if any of the recipes posted would provide a bit of inspiration.

And then I found this recipe and resolved to pop a DVD in while I made dinner and waited for Michael to get home. Suddenly, my grey and chilly Tuesday looked so much brighter.

(How can you possibly be in a bad mood after watching this guy?)

The sauce does take some time to come together: the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and onions are roasted in olive oil for about 25 to 30 minutes (depending on how efficient your oven is) to get nice and soft, and then they need some time to cool prior to peeling them and throwing them into a blender carafe. In the meantime you’re soaking, pureeing and then straining dried chiles while also toasting some almonds, but neither of these tasks takes too long, leaving you more than enough time to watch José Andrés giddily bounce between guiding you through a region in Spain and then showing you how to make recipes from that particular area.

(Edit: I realize I never mention anything about the beans in this photo–all I did here was drain a 14. oz can of cannellinis and simmer them with some olive oil, white wine, salt, and some sprigs of oregano I had handy.  It was a very flavorful but also very simple side dish that paired well with the sauce.)

And honestly, Made in Spain should be required watching for any food enthusiast right now. Not because it’s new (it’s four years old) but because whether you watched it when it first premiered on PBS or you just discovered it now, there’s such a sincere joy in watching Chef Andrés cook the food of his home country in a way that’s accessible to Americans yet can still offer some surprises. It’s easy to write off so many cooking shows these days as they aim for the lowest-common-denominator, so to see someone that talented who also cares so deeply about what he does, and to be able to present it with such joy is remarkable indeed.

You can get the recipe here, and if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, you can catch the first season of Made in Spain as part of their unlimited online streaming service.

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7 comments
  1. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful, as well as the content!

  2. Nice photo! And whoa, different sauce color than what’s photographed with the recipe? Or is that just my imagination?

    I also like that you point out this recipe “takes some time.” In my world, this is considered a quick, mid-week meal. This one, I’m definitely queuing for this month.

    Also – I was waffling on an Amazon Prime membership. Guess I’ll take the plunge. :)

    [K]

  3. I think they cheat and reduced the sauce down on the pan to give it a darker color. All of my romescoes turn out either bright orange or brown depending on what’s going in it.

    Get Amazon Prime! The free shipping is great (and often is even faster than advertised), and the video is surprisingly good. Lots of great movies and TV shows to choose from, including the entire Star Trek TV franchise. This is excellent for me, as Michael can then watch any show he wants whenever and I don’t have to have a gazillion DVDs in the house. :)

    • I think they cheat, too. :) Good tip about Amazon Prime, thanks! Also, I’m back to report that I watched the entire video yesterday afternoon. Wow, I can listen to the man talk all day! And now I want to see more. I’m going to be soooo productive today…

      • OK, so I think the photo on the website isn’t actually for this recipe–in the Made in Spain cookbook it’s for a completely different scallop recipe. Which makes me feel better.

  4. Jonathan said:

    Its a real shame that Jose didn’t get additional seasons of his show after the second one. I have a penchant for his giddy enthusiasm that contrasts with the braggadocio of a lot of American food TV hosts who go on ad infinitum about fat and grease as if they were the only barometers of good food. And for me, romesco’s color depends on cooking before ad after it has been blended. We sometimes “fry” our romesco after blending to darken the color and caramelize the flavors some more. Beautiful looking dish. We’re deeply envious of your trip. We miss Barcelona all the time.

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