I love a bit of food porn, which is what I call my fascination with cookery programmes despite the fact that nearly every recipe on TV is laced with allergens that I can’t eat. I think in some way I’m imagining my other life, the one where I CAN eat all these things without fear for my life.

Well this week I watched one where the chef made a traditional romesco sauce. I’d never heard of it before and was only half listening as it was a tomato and pepper sauce so no good for me anyway with my tomato allergy.

But then she ground up some nuts and added them.

Waitaminute! She’s putting nuts in the red sauce?

Romesco pepper sauce contains nuts and quite a large amount of nuts too.
It also contains bread – so for the wheat allergic and coeliacs out there – the usually safe red sauce is anything but freefrom.

The puree was then used to marinate some fish and it just looked like a normal red sauce. The nuts and bread were disguised in it. Very dangerous for people with a nut or wheat allergy and for coeliacs.

So if anyone is travelling to Spain or eating in a Spanish restaurant or going to a BBQ where the host likes to experiment, check what’s in the red sauce!

Check everything, always, but have you ever considered there might be nuts or bread in the BBQ marinade?

No, neither had I.

What is Romesco sauce?

Romesco sause is a puree of roasted tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, and fresh and dried chillies thickened with bread and ground nuts. It originally comes from Catalonia in Spain. It goes well with grilled seafood, poultry, and meat. In Spain romesco is most often served as a dip for calçots, Catalan spring onions which are like large scallions or small leeks which are traditionally charred over grapevine fires and served in bunches on terra cotta roofing tiles. Really? They eat them off roof tiles?

The recipes I googled used ground almonds, pine nuts and hazelnuts.

So this is a really quick blog post to get the message out to everyone with a hazelnut, pinenut, almond or wheat allergy that romesco tomato sauce contains nuts and wheat!


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