Picada

I could eat this stuff on its own. It’s that tasty.
Its real purpose however is to thicken and flavour other dishes. It’s a Catalan recipe that you’ll find used in many Catalan dishes – it really finishes off a dish with it’s distinctive flavour and texture.
What you’ll need

  • 1 tablespoon of almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 slice of bread – even better, 4 or 5 slices of baguette
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • Plenty of olive oil.

Blanch the almonds in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove, allow to cool and the skins should slide off easily between your fingers.
Roast the almonds and the hazelnuts in a hot oven (200c) for 5 minutes or so, making sure they don’t burn. Any skin on the hazelnuts should shake off after roasting.
For the bread – remove the crusts. Heat enough olive oil in a pan to cover the bottom with a few millimetres of oil. It doesn’t need to be extra virgin olive oil – it would be a waste. A decent, basic olive oil is what you need. Fry the bread pieces in the hot oil until browned on both sides.
Using a mortar and pestle  start to work the fried-bread, nuts and garlic. Add a little olive oil to help it on its way.
This can take time – you need to work at it a while, making sure you get a well mixed paste. Add the parsley and some more olive oil.
Keep working until you have a thick, oily paste with each component mixed well. Season with a pinch of salt but you don’t need too much – give the picada a taste.
Try not to eat it all.
I’ll be posting some recipes using picada when I get a chance.