Cashew Romesco sauce to the rescue

Romesco “(Catalan pronunciation: [ru’mɛsku]) is a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.” – Wikipedia

I’ve been up to my elbows in a home improvement project. We have been wishing, hoping, and planning to replace most of our well worn wall-to-wall carpeting with wood laminate for several years. Last fall we picked the flooring company and took home a few samples, they sat for six months while we hemmed and hawed over the timing. This month we were finally able to pull the trigger and get the ball rolling on the project. We are not tackling the installation ourselves but we are doing all the work to remove the carpet and tile that will be replaced.

I knew it would be a major investment of time and energy to move our furniture, pull the carpet, demolish the tiles, remove the trim, and coat the sub flooring with an odor barrier (cats are lame). Putting the installation date on the calendar launched us into a frenzy of non-stop activity. Clearing the furniture out of the rooms meant tackling a long overdue garage cleaning project. Once we made space we piled half of the house into the garage and dining room. I spent a week smashing tile, wrestling concrete backer board, and another week pulling up carpet, tack strips, dusty padding, and prying hundreds of staples out of the floor. All this work was very satisfying and it was great exercise.

Having previously worked for a tile retailer I knew it was risky to order our floor six months after picking up the samples. During my time with the tile company I worked with numerous disappointed clients and successfully made miracle material acquisitions for irate customers but it is generally unpleasant for all parties when people get upset. Sure enough, after signing the paperwork, we learned our first choice had been discontinued. Rather than see this as a set back I reasoned that it may not have been the best option for us and this was the universe intervening on our behalf. It took us less than 10 minutes to make a new choice but our installation date had to be bumped by a week. Now I have half of my house piled into the other half, bare subflooring, and 29 boxes of maple laminate stacked in the hall closet. I couldn’t be more pleased.

You guys, this journey is not a straight line! Every obstacle is an opportunity to grow more flexible, more patient, and make plan B even better than plan A. The delay in our installation schedule gives Mr. Second Helpings more time to address some areas of damage (dumb cats). Additionally, with the floors bare and the trim removed this is the perfect time to paint the new baby’s room. Believe me I could have gone full on crazy customer with our flooring company – I’ve seen some terrific examples, but it is just a floor covering for goodness sake. So far we have been working very easily around the disruption. I also really appreciate all the work our flooring company has done to make things right and keep the project as on time as possible.

At this point you are rightfully asking what this story has to do with the Cashew Romesco Sauce in the headline. The recipe comes from Sunset Magazine’s July 2012 issue. I loved it before I even tried it and blended up multiple batches throughout the summer. The pictures you see were taken of one of those batches. After trying it on vegetables grilled eggplant with romesco became my favorite side dish for a few weeks. Towards the end of the summer I froze one final batch in an ice cube tray for future use.

Dedicating so much physical and mental energy to the flooring project caused cooking to fall to the bottom of my priority list. This sauce came to the rescue last Friday when I stood in the kitchen staring at a package of chicken thighs. I was tired and out of creative ideas but I remembered the frozen sauce. I popped the chicken on the grill and defrosted the romesco in the microwave on a low heat.

The final meal was grilled chicken brushed with Cashew Romeso Sauce, grilled asparagus spears, and quinoa. Served al fresco, our dinner was quick n’ easy humble food at its finest.

Cashew Romesco Sauce

An easy to whip up flavor packed condiment common in Spanish cuisine. A little sweet, a little spicy, and a little smoky, this version of Romesco Sauce is excellent brushed over grilled meat or vegetables. Store remaining sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week or two or freeze for later use. From Sunset Magazine July 2012

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: n/a; Yield 12 servings (approximately 1 oz each)

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers (in water), drained, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews – roasted, unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce such as Sriracha or Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Method

Place all ingredients, except olive oil, into a blender or food processor. With the lid secured blend at medium speed while adding the oil in a steady stream through the hole in the lid. Blend until sauce becomes smooth, color will lighten.

Approximate nutrition per serving: 81 calories, 7.5 g fat, 3.6 g carbohydrates, .1 g fiber, .4 g protein, PP= 2

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