The Sauce: Romesco Blanco – Made with the traditional almonds and day old bread, it’s a textured sauce with salsa verde, mint and piquant vinegar.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Boiling to broiling
Change is good, right? So up until a few years ago I boiled asparagus into mushy, wimpy vegetables. This takes a lot of courage to admit. Thankfully I switched my cooking method of choice to pan sear or wok cook. Love those little seared edges and tending close enough to stop cooking at crisp tender. And I’ve been pretty happy about it, until now. Have you tried broiling asparagus? All you do is toss in a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil for say, 7-10 minutes until a bit burnished. It’s nice because there’s no tending, stirring or throwing and it creates caramelization outside and crisp-tender inside.
About Romesco, it’s a Spanish sauce from the Catalonia region made with the traditional almonds and bread. It usually has a red textured consistency with red peppers and tomatoes. This version includes the traditionals but nothing red hence the name, blanco. It’s bright, textured and has richness without any of the heaviness of Hollandaise sauce. The salsa verde and mint complements the quick broiled asparagus. Serve as a side or over a generous scoop of brown rice.
Recipe: Asparagus Romesco Blanco
Active Time: 8 Minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings
1 Tbsp sliced or slivered almonds
24 fat asparagus spears, woody ends removed
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp salsa verde
1/2 small slice bread, torn in pieces
2 large mint leaves
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp water
Special Equipment – small skillet, small baking sheet, blender or food processor
1 Preheat broiler on high.
2 Place almonds in a small skillet on medium high heat and cook until the edges turn golden shaking frequently. Don’t walk away as this just takes a few minutes and can burn quickly. Pour on a plate to cool.
3 Line the asparagus stems on a small baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat then season with salt. Broil until almost tender and slightly burnished, about 6-10 minutes.
4 Meanwhile make the Romesco Blanco by placing the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, salsa verde, bread, mint leaves, cider vinegar and water in a blender or small food processor. Process until almost smooth. Add a little extra water as needed if too thick. Season with salt to taste. Serve asparagus with sauce on the side.
This cooking method works best with large stemmed asparagus. If it’s too thin it can burn easily.
Don’t let the almonds cook in the skillet because the residual heat will cause them to over brown.
Use day old bread.
Salsa Verde is made with tomatillos.
For a vegetarian meal, serve Asparagus Romesco Blanco on a generous serving of brown rice.
You can also try traditional red Romesco Sauce on Asparagus.
- Exchange salsa verde for tomato based salsa.
Inspiration – Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan
Cook with Sauces
Asparagus Romesco Blanco
Written by Helen Horton
Recipe Tester for The Washington Post
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: May 17, 2014