Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Grilled calçots with salvitxada sauce

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.