Grilled Fish with Romescu

Romescu is a sauce that evolved from a fish stew recipe and is still often considered a dish on its own. It is simple to make and has a strong, pungent taste.


serves 4
900 g (2 lbs) whole fish such as trout, red mullet, herring, sardines or mackerel, allowing 1-4 fish per person, depending on size.
Bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Romescu (Almond and Hot Pepper Sauce)
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
45 g (3 tbsps) ground almonds
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) cayenne pepper
Pinch salt
45 mI (3 tbsps) red wine vinegar
180 ml (6 fl oz) olive oil


1. To prepare the sauce, combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil and vinegar, in a mortar and pestle and work to a smooth mixture.

2. Transfer to a bowl, whisk in red wine vinegar and add the oil gradually, a few drops at a time, mixing vigorously

with a wire whisk or a wooden spoon. Make sure each addition of oil is absorbed before adding more. Once about half the oil is added, the remainder may be poured in in a thin, steady stream. Adjust the seasoning and set the sauce aside.

3. Wash the fish well, sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and place in a bay leaf. Brush the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with lemon juice. Place under a preheated grill and cook for about 2 - 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Brush with lemon juice and olive oil while the fish is grilling.

Serve with the sauce and lemon or lime wedges if desired.

The sauce may be made several days in advance and stored tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Allow the sauce to come to room temperature and whisk again before serving.

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