Calçots are a type of onion and are a tradition to be eaten in Catalunya from February to April when they are in season. The event of eating calçots is called a calçotada and it is quite typical for a group of family/friends to share in this event whether it be in a restaurant or masia in or out of the city or done at home or in a designated calçcotada area in the countryside.
I have tried a calçotada in a restaurant in a former masia before but I was lucky enough to have one at my parents-in-law’s place last weekend!
The first steps to the event was making the romesco sauce.
- 2 dried capsicum anuums (ñoras)
- 200g almonds
- 50g hazelnuts
- 50g pine nuts
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 pieces of bread soaked in water
- 350g can finely chopped tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Vinegar to taste
First mix the nuts in a blender, fry the garlic in halves in the olive oil until slightly golden. Add the chopped nuts and the garlic to a bowl with the soaked bread. Add the chopped tomatoes to the remaining oil and fry gently for 1-2 mins. Add the tomato mix to the bowl, with the sun dried peppers and blend until smooth. Add vinegar to taste.
You can leave the mix in a covered bowl over night. It can also be nice to add a bit of chilli powder or fresh chillies to make the sauce a bit spicy.
Approx. 10 per person
Selection of meats for barbecuing (we had spare ribs, pork loin and rabbit)
Sauces to serve (romesco, bbq and alioli)
Using a bbq grilling tray, bbq the calçots over the fire for about 3-4 mins each side until fairly blackened and making a sizzling noise (you might also see foam coming out of the calçot when cooked). Do in batches to get even coverage. You can keep them warm in foil or newspaper once cooked while you cook the remainder.
Season the meat and then grill/bbq the meat according to taste. If barbecuing on the open fire, the meat should be cooked above the white charcoal or wood (rather than the open flame).
Eat the calçots first with the romesco sauce. To eat, you peel away the blackened outer skin and dip the “clean” calçot in the romesco sauce, holding the calçot at the end and lower into your mouth. Be warned, it can get very messy! When eating this in a restaurant you are usually given a bib!
For the second course, eat the selection of cooked meats with the three sauces. You could also have potatoes or chips as a side dish. And it is common to have plenty of wine throughout the whole meal!
This is a very filling meal and a really nice sociable event to have with friends or family!
Thank you to the guest chefs for the inspiration and hard work and for the use of their kitchens!