© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

This is the picada used in the Romesco de Peix – Catalan Fishermen Stew. Without the picada, Romesco de Peix wouldn’t be romesco.

I am not Catalan and have never been to Spain. I do, however, read and speak a little Spanish, though. So, when I started reading about romesco, romesco de peix, romescada, picada, etc. not surprisingly, I found a diverse group of opinions. Some people claim romseco de peix is a stew using romesco sauce. Others claim romesco sauce originally started as a fishermen stew and was simplified to a sauce. Then, others claim that in making romesco de peix you make the romesco sauce into a picada and add it to the stew. Confusing, huh? Well, to straighten things out from a US perspective, romesco sauce is not a picada. Instead, picada, although considered one of the 5 basic sauces of Catalan cuisine, is not a sauce under the classical concept of a sauce. To the contrary, picada is a combination of nyora chile, garlic, fried bread, almonds/hazelnuts, and olive oil with other possible additions like saffron, chocolate, parsley, etc. that is used as a thickening and seasoning agent. It’s similar to a roux except it is more digestible because it is cooked flour (as opposed to raw flour in a roux), does not have the true thickening properties of a roux and has a more complex flavor than a roux. The closest relative of picada is pesto, except pesto really is a sauce with specialized uses. Like pesto, however, there are innumerable variations on picada. You can also use picada in a variety of uses, i.e. romsesco de peix, seasoning for veggies or meats, etc. Nyora chiles are not readily available in the US so I substitute ancho chiles. This is the recipe for picada I use.


  • 3 slices white bread, oiled and toasted
  • 3/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 ancho chiles, seeded
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 350 F. Place almonds on sheet pan and roast until golden brown, roughly 15 minutes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

While the almonds are roasting, seed and stem the ancho chiles.

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

Pour enough boiling water over the chiles to submerge them under a plate.

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

Brush bread with 1/4 cup olive oil and sauté bread slices until brown on all sides. Chop into 1/2 inch cubes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

Combine the remaining olive oil, ancho chiles, almonds, hazelnuts, and jalapeños in a food processor (I used the Vita-Mix and it really maxed it out)

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

Process for 30 seconds.

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add bread. Of course, this is when the Vita-Mix met its match and I had to switch to a food processor. I was absolutely stunned. Process the mixture in the food processor for 4 minutes to ensure a smooth paste. Scrape sides of food processor, as needed. Season to taste with salt. Viola, picada!

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

6 thoughts on “Picada”

  1. Go on with yo bad self you is a bad cook .You are right on the money very smart about your cooking method you are a inspiration .I just love your cooking style keep up the good work .I hope one day I can walk into your and a delicious meal .You are a smooth cook.Thank you for sharing your talents.

  2. Delicious. I must say that no one mentioned picada’s during my sauce chapters last year and I’m beginning to think we might have missed out on something. I can imagine a deep tomato and chorizo stew thickened and laden with those delicious fried chillies amongst the bread. Delicious and very summer worthy with my new BBQ at home!

    1. Thanks, Alice. 🙂 This is supposed to go very well with grilled veggies so you may want to give it a try on your new barbie. I’m also sure it would be delightful with shrimp skewers on the barbie, too.

  3. This is, obviously, a very flavorful paste, Richard. I just wonder if it would be a bit too hot for me. I’m not as ‘sensitive’ as I once was but I still have my limits. Well, no way of knowing without trying. 🙂

Food for thoughts

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