Even Claudia Roden is ambivalent about what meatballs to use with this wonderful sauce of fried almonds and garlic, based on a Catalan picada. “Veal was once the prodigious expensive partner, pork the plebeian one…but you can use one or the other meat alone,” she writes in The Food Of Spain, prefacing a recipe that includes both meats, egg, soaked bread and more. Trust us, it’s not the meatballs that matter—it’s this delicious sauce. Some of the goodness comes from almonds and (of course) garlic, but we think saffron, lemon zest and a bit of bread really make it come alive.
We recently made a batch to round out some tapas we were making, but while we enjoyed our potatoes and bit of salad, the almond sauce really stole the show. We used some of our Italian-type polpetti from the freezer, which normally appear with Steve’s tomato sauce on top of pasta or pizza. Our Italian-esque mix worked wonderfully with the salsa con picada de almendras, and so did the baguette we used to sop up the rest of the almond sauce. We’re pretty sure Conor Bofin’s meatball recipe would work great, but if you have a favorite rounded ground meat, let us know about it. We’re itching to make this sauce again.
RECIPE NOTES: We made Roden’s sauce recipe pretty much as written. We did, however, make the full amount of sauce even though we had a much smaller than called-for amount of meatballs.