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A dish seasoned with picada sauce

Picada (Catalan pronunciation: [piˈkaðə]) is one of the characteristic sauces and culinary techniques essential to Catalan cuisine. The technique is typically found in Catalonia and Valencia and subsequently Catalan cuisine and Valencian cuisine. It is not an autonomous sauce like mayonnaise or romesco, but it is added as a seasoning during the cooking of a recipe.

Often the preparation of a concoction begins with another essential sauce, like the sofregit, and ends with the final adding of the picada some minutes before the cooking termination. Picada is used to blend and thicken juices, to provide an excellent finishing touch to a multitude of recipes: meats, fish, rice, soups, legumes, vegetables. There are many variants for the rest of ingredients. The most common ones are garlic (often considered essential), saffron (also considered essential), and / or parsley. Other possible ingredients used more rarely are cinnamon, cooked liver (of chicken or rabbit), chocolate, cumin, herbs, and other spices.

The picada is prepared in the mortar and must contain a basic triad: almond, bread and some liquid. Almonds are toasted and can be replaced by another nut like hazelnut, pinenut, walnut, or some combination of those. Bread is crushed in a mortar after being made dry and hard from going stale, being toasted, or being fried in oil. Otherwise, some sort of sweet biscuit or cookie may be used. The liquid used is usually the cooking juice but stock or hot water can be used as well.

Historical background and in other countries[edit]

Historically, picada of almonds is documented in Catalan cuisine from its very beginning. It is already present in the oldest medieval treatises. Other neighboring Mediterranean cuisines, as Occitan or Italian ones have essentially similar sauces such as pesto.

In Argentina "Picada" is a presentation of cold cuts such as ham, cured ham, pepperoni, sausages, Pates; several types of cheeses such as blue cheese, pecorino, parmiggiano and more. Normally served with dips, bread, olives and nuts.


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