Calçots, one of the typical Catalan cuisine ingredient, is a vegetable similar to a young green onions, but larger and milder. It’s a variety of scallion from Lleida. The calçot from Valls, Tarragona is registered as a protected geographical indication by the European Union. In January, when the season for calçots starts throughout Catalonia fiestas called calçotada are organized, during which people get together with friends and family to spend time eating grilled calçots dipped in salvitxada or romesco sauce. The sauce is prepared with roasted tomatoes and garlic, dried peppers called ñora in Spanish, almonds, hazelnuts, olive oil and sometimes bread soaked in vinegar.
Calçots are grilled over a flaming barbecue, or – if they are prepared at home – in the oven. Before eating, the outer charred layer is removed and then the tender bulbs are dipped in the sauce. The way of eating calçots is quite peculiar: they are raised above head holding the green part. In some restaurants the customers are given bibs to avoid staining with dripping sauce.
bundle of calçots
25 g roasted hazelnuts
50 g roasted almonds
100 ml olive oil
2- 3 ripe tomatoes
1-2 head of garlic
2 large or 4 small dried peppers called ñora
a few leave of parsley
a piece of stale bread soaked in white wine vinegar
Roast tomatoes and garlic in the oven. Allow to cool and then peel them. Soak ñora peppers in hot water during 15 minutes. Discard the cores and chop the remaining parts. Put the hazelnuts and the almonds in a blender and pulse them until they turn into crumbs. Add peppers, garlic, tomatoes, bread soaked in vinegar, parsley and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt.
Wash the calçots under running water. Put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven at 200ºC for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Before eating, remove the outer burnt layer pulling the center of a green part and holding the white tip. Dip calçot in the sauce and raise it above your head seizing the green part.