Romesco Sauce

A quick Romesco sauce makes the most delicious topping for steak, as well as grilled chicken, roasted shrimp or a appetizer plate. I love my version because you get to skip the roasting of the peppers and instead just crack open a jar. You definitely need a food processor to whip this sauce up, but it couldn’t be easier to pull together, and keeps great in the fridge for up to a week. Perfect for a Spanish-inspired dinner!

Romesco Sauce
Serves: 2 cups
There are lots of Romesco recipes that call for red peppers and tomatoes...I developed this one to be simple and quick (hello jarred roasted red peppers) and add a little punch to lots of different meals. Happy cooking!
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • ½ cup Almonds, slivered
  • 3 tsp Garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp Paprika, smoked
  • 1 (16 oz) jar Roasted red peppers, drained
  • 2 tsp Sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the almonds and cook, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes, or until golden.
  3. Add the garlic and smoked paprika and cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Transfer skillet ingredients to the food processor.
  5. Add the red peppers, vinegar and Kosher salt and blend until almost smooth.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
  7. Serve right away or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Continue Reading

Spanish-Style Grilled Pork Loin

Pork loin is always a  big hit in our house. It’s delicious, lean, healthy and lends itself to all types of savory flavors. When it’s cold outside I sear and then roast the pork, but as soon as Spring arrives I head out to the grill. Not only am I fascinated by the alchemy of the grill, I love not having dishes to wash, so I am always trying to figure out how to make our entire dinner outside. The tasty marinade bastes the pork and then transforms into a delicious sauce for your dinner…and a vinaigrette for a quick salad later in the week. Now that’s getting some serious mileage from a small cooking investment!

I served my kids the pork without the sauce. If you have adventurous eaters, I envy you! You could also serve the sauce in a little ramekin alongside the pork and encourage them to give it a try.

Spanish-Style Grilled Pork Loin
Serves: serves 8 - 10
When you are feeding a crowd you can't go wrong with pork loin. It's a crowd pleaser and so much easier to manage on the grill then lots of burgers or chicken breasts. If you don't have oregano, either thyme or rosemary would work equally well in this marinade. Happy cooking!
  • 1 cup Oregano leaves
  • ¼ cup Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup Olive oil
  • ¼ cup Sherry vinegar
  • 4½ - 5 lb Pork loin, trimmed (see note)
  1. In a food processor combine oregano leaves and garlic and pulse until a paste is formed.
  2. Add Kosher salt, olive oil and sherry vinegar and pulse until the dressing is emulsified.
  3. Place the pork in a pyrex dish, poke about 10 holes with a fork in each side of the pork and spread both sides with approximately ⅓ cup of the dressing.
  4. Transfer the rest of the marinade to a mason jar - now you have dressing for your pork.
  5. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  6. Spray grill with olive oil or canola spray and heat to high. Let grill preheat until the temperature gauge reads at least 300 degrees.
  7. Place pork on the grill, I like to put it crossways for grill marks, and grill over high heat, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes total (this is the searing part of the cook time).
  8. Turn heat to low and continue cooking, turning the pork every 15 minutes, for about 45 minutes longer.
  9. The internal temperature of the pork should be 145 degrees when you take it off the grill. Let it rest for about 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute, the internal temperature will continue to rise.
  10. Thinly slice to serve (the meat will be slightly pink in the center).
Pork loin - it's important to trim not only the excess fat and the silver skin off the pork. The silver skin is tough and inedible when cooked, so you definitely want to cut it off.


Continue Reading

Chicken in Garlic-Almond Sauce

The flavors of this delicious dish perfectly embody a rustic Spanish braise. If you have ever made romesco sauce you will recognize the technique here. Just like romesco, nuts and breadcrumbs are the backbone of this sauce. But, what made me fall in love with this dish…the first time I tried is many years ago in Madrid…is the garlicky, almond Sherry flavor. To me, those taste memories always evoke a leisurely, late in the evening Spanish meal. There is a good chance you are going to have a decent amount of extra sauce – great news for a future dinner (this sauce freezes great). You could also serve the leftover sauce as a romesco-style dip, it would be delicious with a toasted  baguette and crudites.

Chicken in Garlic-Almond Sauce
Serves: 6-8
This is just one of those recipes you must make in a food processor or blender. You would not be able to get the almond paste consistency without one of the them. You can make this meal with chicken breasts or thighs, I personally prefer breasts, you can also make this an even healthier meal by taking the skin off the chicken. But definitely make sure you use bone-in chicken, the bones keep the chicken juicy. Last thought I have to share - this recipe uses A LOT of olive oil. Just remember two things, one that you are serving 6-8 people (personally I think you could almost serve 10) and two, you are making a huge batch of sauce, so you are getting a second meal’s sauce or a delicious dip along with this recipe. Happy cooking!
  • 4 tbsp plus 1 cup Olive oil, divided
  • 4½ - 5 lb. Chicken breasts, bone-in with skin
  • 1 cup Almonds, slivered
  • 8 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 4 cups Panko or homemade breadcrumbs (see note)
  • 2 cups Dry sherry, divided (see note)
  • 4 cups Chicken broth, low-sodium, divided 1 tsp Saffron
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt, divided
  • 4 tbsp Butter, unsalted
  • 2 Onions, small, minced (need about 1½ cups)
  • 2 tbsp Parsley, flat-leaf, minced
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle olive oil with ½ tsp Kosher salt. Sauté 2-3 chicken breasts at a time (you will need to do two batches), until both sides are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer browned chicken breasts to a plate. Repeat with additional ¼ cup olive oil, ½ tsp Kosher salt and remaining chicken breasts.
  2. Heat 4 tbsp olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add slivered almonds and sauté until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Remove almonds to a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  3. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 4 tsp of garlic and 2 cups of the breadcrumbs and sauté until lightly toasted. Transfer to food processor. Repeat with an additional ¼ cup olive oil and the remaining 4 tsp of garlic and 2 cups of breadcrumbs. Remove from heat and let the breadcrumbs sit briefly in the pot.
  4. Add ⅓ cup almonds, 1 cup Sherry, 2 cups chicken broth, ½ tsp saffron and 1 tsp Kosher salt to the garlic and breadcrumbs in the food processor. Process until smooth and transfer to a bowl.
  5. Repeat with the remaining garlic and breadcrumbs, an additional ⅓ cup almonds, 1 cup Sherry, 2 cups chicken broth, ½ tsp saffron and 1 tsp Kosher salt. Process to smooth and leave in the food processor while you continue with the recipe.
  6. Heat Dutch oven to medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the onions. Stirring frequently, cook until onions start to caramelized, about 5 minutes.
  7. Return the sauce in the bowl and the sauce in the food processor back to the Dutch oven, stir to combine with the onions. Add the chicken pieces, making sure to submerge the chicken in the sauce.
  8. Simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through. Check doneness after 15 minutes, though it might take an additional 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking the chicken. If you have a digital thermometer, this is a great time to break it out - you are looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees (the chicken is ready to eat when it has a temperature of 165, it will rise the last 5 degrees while it rests on the plate).
  9. Plate chicken and sauce in shallow bowls. Garnish with some of the remaining slivered almonds and flat-leaf parsley if desired.
Do not use store-bought regular breadcrumbs in this recipe. They are too heavy for this sauce. Panko breadcrumbs, which are made from bread, but not the crusts, are so much better in this recipe. You can find Panko breadcrumbs on the baking and Asian aisles at the grocery store.

If you don’t have sherry you can use dry white wine. While your dish will be delicious, it won’t have that “Spanish” taste.


Continue Reading