Taking a little inspiration from Spain, and a whole lot of inspiration from the island’s beautiful Kamuela tomatoes, I whipped up a quick Romesco sauce blending fresh, char-broiled tomatoes, roasted Spanish peppers, spicy red pepper flakes, slivered almonds, and lots of garlic for a tasty sauce to pair with herb grilled salmon the other evening.
Perfect with the salmon, but easily as delicious with grilled chicken or steak, roasted vegetables, or just on toasted ciabatta. We paired with a light Crianza Rioja from Beronia filled with ripe cherry, black plum, savory herbs, and a touch of toasted vanilla.
Grilled Salmon with Romesco Sauce:
For the sauce:
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
2 whole roasted red peppers (you can roast, seed, and peel the peppers yourself, or buy a jarred product. I used Spanish red peppers I had purchased on my last trip to Spain)
4 cloves garlic, smashed and paper removed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
1 hearty slice of day-old bread (we used ciabatta from the evening before)
1/2 cup roasted slivered almonds
1 teaspoon smoky Spanish paprika
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (the parsley gives a beautiful fresh herbaceous quality to the sauce) and a little extra for garnish
For the salmon:
2 6oz filets of salmon, skin removed
1 lemon, zested and sliced in half
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with a bit of cooking spray. Slice the tomatoes in half. Place sliced side down on the baking sheet along with the garlic, and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Roast until the tomatoes are charred on the outside and the garlic is toasted.
As the tomatoes are roasting prep your salmon and heat your grill to medium. Place your salmon on a baking dish and brush 1/2 tablespoon mustard on each piece, then season generously with salt and pepper, to your taste, and 1/4 teaspoon paprika on each slice. Dust a little lemon zest on each slice, and squeeze half of the lemon over both slices. Keep the other half to finish the dish.
Grill your salmon, turning the fish over halfway through. It should only take about 3-4 minutes on each side to keep the fish moist and light. When the fish is cooked, remove it from the grill and tent with foil to keep the fish warm as you finish the sauce.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and add to a blender with the juices. (You can remove the skin from the tomato if you like, but you will lose that little bit of a charred vegetable taste, which I personally like.) Add the peppers, parsley, bread, almonds, spices, and vinegar, and give the blender a whirl to incorporate everything. Allow the sauce to come together then slowly drizzle the olive oil through the top of the blender, emulsifying the sauce. When the sauce is rich and almost creamy pour it into a container and set aside. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, but keep it warm to serve with your salmon.
To plate your dish, brush a generous amount of the sauce on a serving dish and lay the salmon over the sauce. Squeeze the remaining 1/2 lemon over the fish and sprinkle over some parsley. Enjoy!