Romesco Roast Salmon over Pumpkin and Olive Grits

I don’t know where I originally saw it or what context it was in, but I recently wrote “pumpkin, red pepper, and olive” in the little notebook that I use to keep track of recipe ideas and inspiration. Kind of a weird combination, right? But ever since I wrote it down, I’ve been obsessed with trying out that flavor combination.

I spent a few weeks dreaming up ways to make the ingredients work together, and then came up with this recipe for roast salmon with romesco over pumpkin and olive grits. It worked. The flavors were subtle but complex – not as bold as I usually go for – but this was really, really good.

Here’s the thing with grits though – make sure you cook them over low heat and stir them pretty often. If they get too hot, they’ll spit and sputter all over the place. Not only will that make a mess, but it can be dangerous! I didn’t have my burner as low as I should have, and I have a nasty burn on my arm to show for it. Lesson learned.


Romesco Roast Salmon over Pumpkin and Olive Grits

Serves 2.Prep Time:  10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

This easy yet elegant dinner highlights the classic Spanish flavor of Romesco. Use prepared sauce, or follow the recipe below to make your own. If desired, polenta can be substituted for the grits.


  • 2 (6 ounce) Salmon Filets
  • 2 Tablespoons Romesco (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 cup Quick Cooking Grits
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 cup Mixed Olives (Kalamata, Nicoise, Spanish Queen, etc), pitted and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Black Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Slather each salmon portion with 1 Tablespoon of Romesco and place on a baking sheet. Roast the salmon for 10-15 minutes, or until it is cooked to a medium level of doneness.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan set to medium-high heat. When the stock comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and add the grits and the pumpkin. Cook, stirring frequently, until a thick porridge has formed – about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives and season with black pepper.
  3. To serve, spoon half the grits onto each serving plate. Top with a potion of roast salmon and sprinkle with fresh parsley.




Yields approximately 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Romesco is a flavorful sauce with Spanish origins. Made with a base of nuts, red peppers, olive oil, and bread, it is delicious with seafood or vegetables. Leftover sauce can be frozen, or will keep for several week refrigerated under a layer of olive oil.


  • 1 (approx. ½ pound) Tomato
  • 2 cloves Garlic, separated
  • 2 Tablespoons slivered Almonds
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper
  • 1/4 cup stale Bread Cubes or unseasoned croutons
  • 1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place the tomato slices and one garlic clove on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tomato is soft and caramelized, but not browned.
  2. Add cooked tomato, garlic, almonds, bread and vinegar to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to process the sauce, until the oil has been incorporated and you are left with a thick sauce.



  1. wow awesome meal and I must genius pumpkin grits, merry christmas

  2. This is an intriguing idea to pair pumpkin with salmon and asparagus. It looks delicious.

  3. I love the nutty sweet flavor of romesco and it does sound perfect with the briny olives! I’m intrigued by the inclusion of pumpkin…definitely something to try!

  4. Being “attacked” by grits is not something I would ever have kinown. I have never eaten or cooked this Soithern specialty. Love the Mediterranean twist!

  5. You are so creative! This sounds like a great combination! I could have never thought of combining salmon, red pepper, pumpkin and olive. Thanks for the idea!

  6. We love salmon at our house. And are always looking for new ways to try it. Love all your recipes and have added your site to my favorites page.

  7. This is all of my favorites ingredients on one recipe. In love! The Romesco…Salmon, Olives, Asparagus, Grits. A must try!

  8. I would love to try this out for New Year’s dinner… I am a little hesitant with salmon though, because the last time i tried it out, even with butter sauce, it turned out dry. Any tips on what to buy and handling prep? Thanks!

    • In terms of what to buy, I like the “salmon portions” (that’s what they’re labelled as at the store I go to), which are a little thicker than the filets – about as tall as they are wide.

      The dryness probably stems from it being overcooked – it can also taste fishy if you cook it too much. The cooking time in this recipe should give you a piece of salmon that is done to a “medium” level – it will still be pink in the middle and (hopefully!) will be nice and juicy.

      I actually never liked salmon until I learned to stop cooking it to death! ;)Good luck, and I hope you like ti!

  9. such a pretty dish. I’d love it on top of mashed potatoes ;)

  10. this looks so delicious. my husband has just recently started liking grits, so i try to make them as often as possible now :)

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