Food & dining
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    sunday supper

    Romesco adds zest to chicken, then brightens salad dressing

    Roast chicken and onions with romesco sauce.
    Karoline Boehm Goodnick for the Boston Globe
    Roast chicken and onions with romesco sauce.

    Romesco, a zesty sauce from Spain’s Catalonian region, is typically made from tomatoes, mild red peppers, and garlic, thickened with ground almonds or bread. It has a coarse ruggedness, something like Italian pesto, but boasts a striking orange-red color and a bold tangy flavor. It’s a perfect accompaniment for a platter of chicken breasts roasted on a bed of onions.

    Add olive oil and sherry vinegar to some of the romesco sauce to make a dressing for escarole (a broad, slightly bitter leaf), morsels of chicken, olives, and capers. Once romesco has made it into your sauce repertoire, you’ll find yourself making batches many times over the next several months to pair with grilled foods and grain and vegetable salads.

    Shopping list

    (Chicken romesco, chicken salad)


    6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
    (about 4½ pounds)

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    4 ounces aged manchego cheese

    cup pitted Kalamata olives

    6 medium onions

    1 small red bell pepper


    1 head escarole

    1 pint mixed red and yellow
    cherry tomatoes

    4 cloves garlic

    1 bunch fresh oregano

    Salt and pepper


    1 cup olive oil

    3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

    ½ cup chicken stock

    1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

    2 tablespoons capers

    1 dried ancho or other mild chili pepper

    ½ cup whole blanched almonds

    1 can (15 ounces) whole tomatoes

    Lisa Zwirn can be reached at