Though we have published recipes for romesco sauce in the past—this iconic sauce is awesome with vegetables, especially the calçots we have enjoyed in early spring in Barcelona—we had never thought to pair it with seafood.
For the romesco:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating the vegetables
- 1 red bell pepper
- 6 ripe plum tomatoes
- 1 head garlic, halved, papery outer skin removed
- 1 Spanish onion
- 3 ñora chile peppers (or any other dried sweet chile pepper, such as ancho)
- 1/4 cup blanched almonds
- 1 ounce white bread, crust removed
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
For the scallops:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 large dry-packed sea scallops
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Brush a thin film of olive oil over the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and onion and lay them on a roasting pan. Roast for about 25 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Remove them from the oven. When cool enough to handle, peel the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Seed the pepper and tomatoes and cut off their stems. Meanwhile, place the chiles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for 15 minutes. Strain, then remove the seeds from the peppers. Place the chiles in a blender and purée until smooth. Pass the purée through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small sauté pan over low heat. Add the almonds and sauté them until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the almonds to a bowl and set aside. Increase the heat to medium and add the bread to the same sauté pan. Toast the bread until golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side. Remove the bread and set aside. Add the puréed chiles to the sauté pan and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the peeled roasted vegetables into the blender. Add the almonds, toasted bread, chile paste, vinegar, pimentón, and the remaining seven tablespoons of olive oil. Blend into a thick sauce and add salt to taste. Pour the romesco sauce into a bowl and set aside.
Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and when hot, add the scallops and sear on both sides, until the scallops are just cooked and slightly opaque, about 30 seconds on each side, depending on their size. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
To serve, spoon some romesco sauce (rewarm if necessary) onto a serving plate. (Reserve the
remaining romesco sauce, covered in the refrigerator for up to three days, for another use). Place the seared scallops on top. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and garnish with parsley.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from joseandres.com