We only had one lonely grouse in the freezer this year so I knew I needed to do something special with it. One bird isn't quite enough to feed our family of 4 with 2 carnivorous little boys. With that in mind, I decided to make an appetizer with them for our annual New Year's Eve tapas night.
What is romesco sauce?
Romesco is a Spanish sauce that is similar to pesto but is tomato and red pepper-based. This sauce is super simple to make but is full of flavor. You can throw all the ingredients in the blender, whip it up, and it's ready to serve. No cooking needed! It has the perfect balance of richness from the Marcona almonds and olive oil and acidity from the tomatoes, peppers, and lemon juice. The parsley and garlic add a nice earthy balance to the sauce. It's the perfect condiment for so many things, you'll be glad this recipe makes extra!
What can I put romesco sauce on?
You can use your imagination for the leftover sauce, but here are some of my favorite uses.
- Use it as a pasta sauce. Add a little of the cooking water from your pasta to the sauce, toss the noodles in it, and top with parmesan cheese. Delicious!
- Dip some crusty bread in it or use it as a base for bruschetta.
- Toss your favorite roasted vegetables in it.
- Freeze it to use later.
- The possibilities are endless!
The grouse is fairly simple to make as well. I chose to cut the breasts and leave the legs whole. I tossed the meat in a simple smoked paprika-based seasoning and olive oil. I grilled the skewers for about 10 minutes and brushed the sauce on them in the last couple minutes of cooking, then served them with romesco sauce on the side. Grouse, along with most wild game, is very lean. So, it can overcook quickly. Keep a good eye on them, and they will be moist and tender.
Smoky Grouse Skewers with Romesco Sauce
- 1 whole grouse, breasts and leg quarters removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained (12 oz)
- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
- ½ cup marcona almonds
- ½ cup parsley leaves
- 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ cup olive oil (or oil from sun dried tomatoes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon aleppo pepper
- Note: This romesco recipe makes way more than you need but you can use it as a condiment or as a pasta sauce. It also freezes very well in zippered bags.
- Soak wooden skewers in water. 2 grouse breasts make about 4 - 6" skewers.
- Cut grouse breasts into bite-sized pieces. Leave leg quarters whole.
- In a small bowl, mix smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over grouse pieces, then toss in grouse in the seasoning mix until well-coated. Arrange breast pieces on skewers. Let grouse marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, place all romesco ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat grill to 400°F. Cook grouse skewers and legs for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Baste with romesco sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. Serve with romesco sauce for dipping on the side.