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.
You’d better use a bit of pork or the Spanish Inquisition will come and get you 😉
Excellent point! Luckily, around here, most everything contains pork. So I think we’ll be safe.
Oooo. This sounds wonderful. Your potatoes look amazing too!
Thank you! Those potatoes are delicious. They’re from the delightful Moro cookbook and the funny thing is, I think this is the second time they’ve appeared in a blog post without a mention. We should remedy that!
Please do! Recipe needed!
Reblogged this on My Blog paul.
Thank you for sharing this almond sauce. I’ve never heard of it, but now I can’t wait to make it. Beautiful tapas spread.
So welcome, Daisy. It is a hauntingly delicious sauce.
Ooh! I made something similar! I did mine with lamb meatballs and it was BOSS.
“pork the plebian one”! Classic. I would indeed prefer to be a pleb – will try this recipe on my meatball addicted family.
Aint it the truth? I’ll take the peasant version almost every time.
Tried them last night (with pork) – really delicious recipe. Love Claudia
Wow. I had never heard of almond sauce to go with meatballs before. It sounds delicious! I should try it some day (and maybe the meat-lover in this house will forgive our mostly meat-free diet of these past few weeks)
Good for you, Darya, with the almost meatless diet. It’s pretty easy to do amidst summer’s bounty, but I don’t know how folks make it through the winter. Do try the sauce, even if on some veg substitute for meatballs. It’s delicious!
I would never think to use almonds in any form with meatballs but, then again, i don’t live in a climate where almond trees in bloom are a sign of Spring. This sounds wonderful and I fully intend to give it a go. Thanks.
I wouldn’t have ever thought of it either. But I’m glad the Spaniards did!
Delicious idea. I’ve just book marked the Claudia Roden recipe. Meatballs aren’t high on my list, so I need to find another partner for such a good sauce. Lovely pic.
I think the sauce would be good on all sorts of things. Or alone, eaten with a spoon. 🙂
I adore your style and this food is right up my street. Well done!
Thanks so much!
Reblogged this on barbarasfoodandfinds and commented:
Almond sauce is one of those foods which must be abundant in heaven.
Michelle and Steve! Boulder library has an awesome cookbook section. I just picked up four of Claudia Roden’s, The Book of Jewish Food, Arabesque, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, and The Food of Spain. Thrilled. Amazing. I believe I have you to thank for turning me onto her highly erudite work. Thank you!
I’ve got all of those except The Book of Jewish Food, which I really should pick up one day. Her books are really, really good. Though it’s funny. When I first got the Spanish one I was sort of unimpressed. Boy, was I wrong!
I love Claudia Roden! She’s in the pantheon, isn’t she. There’s this whole family of nut and stale bread sauces I’ve been meaning to try. Put like that, they don’t sound promising, but they come recommended by trustworthy people. It’s on the list!
Her books really are great. I’ll even forgive her for the huge overlap of recipes in the Middle Eastern book and Arabesque.
That comment above may have been the first time I’ve ever seen the word “erudite” used on a food blog. Sounds great, and a good excuse to try Conor’s meatballs! (I’m not sure I like the way that sounds…)
We’re very erudite here, Sean. And what about Sara using the word pantheon?
Pantheon!!! Isn’t that building in Athens!?
Oh, no, I’m sure you’re thinking of the Parthenon. Which is in Nashville, TN.
I just love it when I drop in and find a recipe that is just perfect for my needs. 🙂 You never disappoint!
Oh great! Hope it worked out for you.
With rain on the horizon, I’ve been dreaming of warm and happy food. These balls and that sauce fit the bill perfectly. Can’t wait to try it out!
Makes one want to catch the first plane to Spain, doesn’t it?
I got to try that sauce as well, sounds like this will be a good sauce for roasted pork
I think it would be good with just about anything. 🙂
This looks absolutely delicious!
I bet Yes!Chef! could do something really good with it!
Good idea! I’ll make sure he sees it.