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Catalunya: Escalivada

Part of my A Week in Catalunya series, this is the simple recipe has barely been altered from the traditional dish served in Spain, with just the addition of homemade pasta to create the perfect meal. The earthy flavours of both the pasta and the escalivada make for a hearty meal full of delicious flavours and textures.

NOTE: You want the aubergine to be falling apart, if it isn't, quickly whisk it in a bowl with a fork to try and break it up more.

Serves four

Takes 30 minutes (15 prep, 15 cook)

1 large aubergine

2 large romano peppers

1 red onion

3 cloves of garlic

50ml olive oil

Preheat the grill to 200C.

Without removing the base, skin the onion and cut the onion into 8ths so as to keep the wedges anchored at their root.

Halve the aubergine and peppers and pierce each aubergine halves to allow them to release steam.

Place the aubergine and pepper halves face down on a baking sheet on a baking tray, and add the garlic, in its skin, and onion 8ths. Grill for 10 minutes, until the skin and outer edges of the vegetables have blackened.

Remove the garlic and onion and set aside. Grill the peppers and aubergine for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the aubergine and peppers from the grill, wrapping the peppers in newspaper for 5 minutes (if you don't have newspaper: place them in a bowl and cover them with a plate) this is to allow the vegetables to sweat their skin off.

I personally like to leave the skin on the aubergine, but if that doesn't appeal to you, follow the same steps as with the pepper. Otherwise, set the aubergine aside to cool.

Cut the root from the onion and remove the skin from the garlic, placing the lose onion and skinned garlic cloves in a dish with the olive oil.

When the peppers have rested, take them out and peel as much skin as possible away, being careful not to scald yourself. Pull them into thin 1cm strips (slice if they're not tender enough) and add them to the olive oil, onion and garlic.

Pull the aubergine into strips and add it to the same bowl.

You can serve straight away, but escalivada gets better after an hour or so of melding.


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