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.

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By John Loydall


  • Helena says:

    Finding the picada recipe here has been a very pleasant surprise although it has made me feel slightly homesick. Will be making a fricando soon to make the blues disappear. THANK YOU!!!

    • John L says:

      Hey – glad you liked it. I know there’s many different ways to make picada but hopefully my recipe will work as a decent base.

      Fricando – oh yes, that’s definitely on my list.

      Thanks again.

      • Helena says:

        Your recipe has my Catalan approval, try it with pine nuts the next time. It gives an even nicer flavour 🙂

  • I saw this on TS and had no idea what it was! I thought perhaps it was something with anchovies…so wrong. It looks delicious and I’m curious to know if you flavor pasta or rice with it.

    • John L says:

      It’s really used as a thickener for stews and sauces but it does add a wonderful taste. Trust me though – if you make it yourself you’ll want to eat it on it’s own.. It’s a beautiful combination – the fried bread really gives it depth.

      Thanks for you comments!

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