Grilled Shellfish with Romesco Sauce

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Shellfish grilled, not broiled, with the shells on has a delicious charcoal kind of taste, and the famous romesco sauce that accompanies it is a perfect contrapunto. I have included two versions of this wonderful sauce—the authentic one made with dried sweet red peppers (I thank the Sol-Ric restaurant in Tarragona for the recipe) and another for those who cannot find these peppers. I recommend making the effort to obtain them, however, for they enter into several Spanish recipes in this book, and although substitutions of paprika or pimiento are sometimes possible, the results are not quite the same.

A green salad and a fine dry white wine like Viña Tondonia are appropriate.




Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationlactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentfood processor, griddle

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturegarlicky, nutty, savory


  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 lobsters, about 1-1¼ pounds each, split lengthwise, claws lightly crushed
  • 1 dozen large shrimp, in their shells
  • 1 dozen clams, at room temperature
  • 1 dozen mussels
  • Lemon wedges
  • 1 dried red pepper, sweet or slightly hot, such as “New Mexico” style, seeds and stems removed
  • ½ dried red chili pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 slices French-style bread, ¼ inch thick
  • 1 large tomato, skinned and chopped
  • 36 blanched almonds (about 2 ounces), lightly toasted
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1 pimiento, homemade or imported, chopped
  • 2 dried red chili peppers, seeds removed, broken into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons fish broth or clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 10 almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed


Make one of the romesco sauces, which follow. Coat a stove-top griddle or a large skillet with a teaspoon or so of oil. Heat, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Add the lobster and cook over a high heat about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the shrimp, clams, and mussels and small amounts of oil as necessary to prevent the griddle or pan from scorching. Turn the shellfish occasionally and cook until the lobster and shrimp are done and the clams and mussels have opened (this will only take a few minutes). Serve with lemon wedges and pass the romesco sauce.

To Make Romesco Sauce (1):

Place the dried pepper and chili pepper in a saucepan with the water and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Drain and cool. In a skillet, heat ¼ cup of the oil. Fry the bread slices until golden on both sides. Remove. In the same oil sauté the tomato for about 3 minutes.

Place in a processor or blender the peppers, fried bread, tomatoes (including the oil in which they were cooked), almonds, garlic, the remaining ½ cup of oil, and the salt. Beat until well blended but with small pieces remaining. Let sit at room temperature until ready to use.

To Make Romesco Sauce (2):

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and sauté the onion and chopped garlic until the onion is wilted. Add the tomato, pimiento, chili pepper, broth, and wine. Cover and cook 30 minutes.

In a processor or blender, grind the almonds. Beat in the vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the salt, and the crushed garlic. Add the tomato mixture and puree until smooth. Let sit at room temperature until ready to use.



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