Barcelona Photoblog: calçots
Showing posts with label calçots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label calçots. Show all posts

April 02, 2012

Romesco Sauce: The Perfect Companion to Calçots

How to Prepare Romesco Sauce [enlarge]

As mentioned in yesterday's post, Calçots are supposed to be soaked in Romesco sauce. I mentioned the ingredients too. I guess this video might do to get the idea considering I wanted it in English for everyone to understand. I wish it was some Catalan chef but the guy knows what he's doing anyway.

March 31, 2012

Peeling Calçots, Masia Can Palau, Vilanova del Valles

Peeling calçots at Masia Can Palau

In Catalonia, there is this part of the year when going out to peel calçots for lunch at any of the many masias spread around the country becomes almost a matter of state.

Most well-known places for calçotades are in the southern province of Tarragona, in a region called Valls but around Barcelona it is not strange to find a good spot in an idyllic environment.

The place I will mention today is just an example and of course you are free to choose. It is called Masia Can Palau and it is located in Vilanova del Valles some kilometers away from the city of Barcelona.

The 30 eur menu included Calçots with Romescu sauce, grilled meat (a mixture of chicken, sausage, lamb and rabbit with fries) and dessert. We had two generous rounds of calçots per person. They came wrapped in aluminum foil and were very hot.

But how do you peel Catalan calçots?

You have to grab the calçot by the leaves and with the other hand, press gently on the black roasted skin of the bulb and peel it off. Beware you don't press to hard and pull away the inner part of the calçot. It requires some practice. It should come out clean.

After that you soak the tender and juicy stems of the plant in an exquisite romesco sauce which is made with almond, garlic, red pepper, hazelnut, tomato, olive oil, vinegar, crumbs of fried bread, salt and pepper.

If you want to know how they cook calçots and what they are, check my previous posts: Catalan Traditions - Calçotada: A Close Look and Grilled Leaks...Check the sauce in next post.

March 06, 2009

Grilled Leaks Soaked in Romesco Sauce? No, Just Some Calçots

Pile of calçots in a blue box by Carlos Lorenzo

Do you dig grilling some baby leeks to later soak them in romesco sauce? I do! Well, it is not exactly a leek nor it is an onion or a garlic plant but something in between. It definitely reminds you of onions when you smell it and taste it. Maybe the only difference is that calçots, as such is their name in Catalan, neither bite nor make you cry.

Here you have a great bunch of calçots that are traditionally consumed this time of the year. I won't get any deeper into the story about what they are or the ritual followed before and during a calçotada since that has already been described in this previous post of mine: Catalan Traditions, La Calçotada.

March 12, 2008

Catalan Traditions: Calçotada. A Close Look


Half way between leeks and onions, there is a plant known in Catalonia as calçot which has become part of our most popular traditions, the calçotada:

According to some sources calçots were first cultivated in XIX by a lonely peasant called Xat de Benaiges in Valls, Tarragona.

In this close shot, you can appreciate the white bulbs that soon will turn completely black on the grill.

 Although they can be served on a roof tile, or a common plate, many times you simply pile them up in small amounts and wrap them in newspapers to keep them warm till served. They are quite tasteless, or better said, they taste like onions but without the biting feeling in your tongue. In fact, it is a very soft and delicate flavor that calls for a tasty sauce, in this case, romescu made of ground almonds and hazelnuts, vinegar, olive oil, salt, dry red peppers known as choriceros and paprika.

Don't forget to use a bib to avoid the stains caused by the sauce and keep your fingers away from your clothes. Why so? Well, when you learn about the ritual you'll understand.

  1. First you spread the newspaper bundles on the table and everybody gathers around, usually standing with a bowl of sauce nearby. 
  2. Now it's time to peel one of them. You take the plant by the leaves and pressing upon the tip of the white bulb with the other hand you try to pull away carefully the burnt out external layer. This you learn with practice. It must come out neatly without smashing the content.
  3. Then you leave the peel aside (now the hand used for peeling is a mess) and soak the bulb in the sauce, haul it towards your mouth and take a good bite only on the white part of the plant. The rest you throw away.

After this repeat the process at will. Of course, wine is mandatory in this case. Maybe I have been too descriptive today but I have noticed in the past that calçotada details are too often overlooked. Bon appetite!
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