Friday, 14 February 2014

Curly Endive Salad with Romesco Sauce

This salad is called Xato (pronounced chato) in Catalonia.  It is tradionally made with tuna, anchovies and raw salt cod, I have left out the salt cod for this recipe as it is not to everyone's taste.  Escarolas (curly endives) are now in season and you will see that a lot of villages in Catalonia having this traditional salad with competions for making the romesco sauce.

To make authentic Romesco sauce you really need Ñora or Choricero dried peppers, you can buy them from Spanish suppliers online.  If you make it without it will not be the same and in my mind it is worth to source them, they come dried on a string and can be hung up in the kitchen.  If you have a garden or greenhouse you could grow them.



Serves 4


1 escarola (curly endive)
Small tin of anchovies in oil
Tin of tuna in oil
50g black olives in oil

For the Romesco sauce

2 tomatoes, cut in half
15 Almonds
15 Hazelnuts
slice of rustic bread
7 garlic cloves
75 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 Ñora or Choricero
Splash of red wine vinegar

How to go about it

First put the dried peppers in a small bowl and cover with boiling water and leave for a few hours to soak. Wash the escarola, use only the really light green leaves, save the outer, darker green leaves and use in a soup if you wish.  Put the drained escarola in the fridge to crisp up.

The romesco can be made in the oven or in a frying pan.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and gentle fry the whole unpeeled garlic cloves, keeping one back to add raw.  If you prefer a milder flavour of garlic then cook all the cloves.  In the same pan fry a piece of bread and tomatoes.  Dry fry the nuts. Or you can roast the ingredients in the oven 160c for 20 minutes, roast the nuts for only 10 minutes and keep an eye on them as they burn easily.  You can make this in a pestle and mortar or use a hand liquidizer.  Scrap of the flesh from the peppers, skin and seed the tomatoes and mix with all the other ingredients add the vinegar at the end, just a teaspoon to lift the flavour a bit. Loosen the sauce with a splash of boiling water and toss the escarola in a bowl with the romesco,  you might not need all of the sauce, you can save it for another day.   Arrange on plates and top with anchovies, tuna and olives.

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