The Balandra is a delicious sauce that could be considered another variant of Romesco, as would the romesco sauce. It is used to dress fish, seafood or it can even be combined with a good seafood rice. Together with the aioli and some others, they were the sauces that the fishermen of Tarragona used to flavor the boiled fish with which they used to start their lunches at sea.
Ingredients for 6 people:
• 1 fried dried pepper (see the How to fry dried pepper section for Romesco recipes).
• 3 cloves of garlic and a sprig of parsley.
• 3 thin slices of bread from a 250 g loaf.
• 200 ml of intense fish stock.
• 30 ml of apple cider vinegar (depending on taste, may require a little more).
• We start by frying the slices of bread in a pan on both sides, taking care not to burn them and letting them cool on absorbent kitchen paper.
• Put the parsley, the peeled garlic cloves, the fried slices, the broth and the vinegar in the mixer and beat well. We also add the fried pepper and reduce everything to a fine paste with the mixer.
• Pour all this shake into a pan with just a little extra virgin olive oil and, over medium/low heat, reduce everything without stopping stirring until it takes the consistency of chocolate (about two-three minutes). Halfway through cooking it is tested for salt and vinegar and readjusted. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken more when it cools.
• Let it cool completely and serve in a sauce boat.
• If you like it spicy, you can add a very small peri-peri chilli in the mixer, when you put the fried dried ancho pepper.
In the photos below, the fisherman and boat cook Manolo Quero dressing fish with a good “Balandra”. One of the traditional lunches of the Tarragona consisted of a boil of very diverse fish that was seasoned with sauces such as Balandra. With the excellent resulting fish broth, as a second course, some “rossejats” noodles or a “rossejat” (with rice instead of noodles) were cooked.