This is a recipe that, together with an interesting preamble and photos, we publish here courtesy of the Friends of Romesco in Sta. Coloma de Queralt, a town in the province of Tarragona where this exquisite dish of cod Romesco is typical.
The history of the Romesco Colomí (from Sta. Coloma de Queralt) is lost in the mists of time and only the oral tradition from parents to children gives us an idea, often imprecise, of who or when the tradition of the Romesco. In any case, it is striking that in an inland village the main ingredient of this dish is precisely a fish: cod, but it is true that for many years Romesco Colomí has already been served at Casa Genaro and in other establishments in the location.
The “Pauques” were the center of Romesco Colomí: groups of men soaked salted cod, the only fish that could reach these regions in optimal conditions for consumption. Once desalted and crumbled, it ended up in a clay pot with olive oil on the fire, and, when it started to boil for the first time, they added the Romesco base mix made with the ingredients that were closest to hand: almonds, hazelnuts, garlic, carquinyolis, chilli… Once the Romesco was cooked, it was accompanied with plenty of red wine.
Ingredients for 5 people:
• 1 kg of salted cod, if possible loin and of the best quality.
• 80 g of toasted almonds.
• 60 g of toasted hazelnuts.
• 50 g of peeled garlic.
• 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg.
• 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika.
• Half a dry chilli (optional).
• Half a stick of cinnamon.
• 3 spice cloves.
• 1.5 carquinyolis -a local biscuit- (you can use 1.5 Marie biscuits).
• 2 Bouquet garnies containing oregano and bay leaf.
• Olive oil (about 75 ml).
• The day before, the cod is desalted according to the seller’s instructions. If we buy it whole, it is cut into pieces, taking care not to make very small pieces, removing skins and bones. If we buy it already crumbled, it is soaked until, when we try it, we do not notice a salty taste. Finally, squeeze well to extract all the water.
• In a round earthenware casserole we put the olive oil, the cod and the bouquet garnies and turn around a few times.
• Add a romesco base mix that we will have prepared with the almonds, hazelnuts, garlic, carquinyolis, chilli pepper and spices, all crushed by adding some white wine if is necessary. We put it to cook on a low heat.
• When it starts to boil, let it cook over low heat for ten minutes and it can be served.