A delicious way to celebrate the coming of spring, the calçotada is a traditional Catalan meal eaten around easter. Centred around calçots - a particular kind of allium found principally in Spain, the meal can easily be replicated with leeks, and is an excellent way to switch up a classic easter dinner and very something new and fun!
My family and I celebrated easter during isolation with some friends over a calçotada that we simultaneously cooked and enjoyed over video chat!
Takes 60 minutes (30 prep, 50 cook)
For the escalivada:
2 romano peppers
2 small red onion
20g olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
5 leaves of wild garlic or 1 small clove of garlic
For the romesco sauce:
3 romano peppers
100g hazelnuts, chopped
100g almonds, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
50g olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp tomato purée
For the “calçots”:
2 large leeks
Preheat the grill to 200C.
Use a sharp knife to punch a couple of holes in all aubergine and peppers, skin and quarter the red onion. Arrange all the vegetables on a baking tray and grill them for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until they’re blackened and burnt.
As the vegetables grill toast the nuts. Place them and all the remaining romesco ingredients, in a blender. Set aside.
Remove the vegetables from the grill when cooked and place them straight into a mixing bowl, placing a plate on top.
Cut the leeks in half and place them onto the empty baking tray. Grill them for 20 minutes, turning half way, until they are blackened and charred on the outside.
When the vegetables in the mixing bowl have cooled to touch, peel off the skin and deseed, discarding both seeds and skin.
Add 3 peppers to the ingredients for the romesco and blend until smooth. Decant into a jar and store. Keeps for 1 week.
For the escalivada, pull the aubergine and the remaining peppers into ribbons and place in a bowl. Add the onion, olive oil and salt and mix well. Finely chop the wild garlic, or mince the small clove of garlic, and mix it in well.
Serve the grilled leeks with the romesco sauce and escalivada for the full calçotada experience.
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