It’s February, which means calçot season here in northern Spain! Eating these delicacies is a messy affair, so best enjoyed outside in the open air – a typical Catalan Calçotada is perfect for Covid times!
What is a calçot?
The glorious calçot, one of Catalonia’s unique foods and highly regarded as a local delicacy, is a native onion similar to a leek or spring onion & very tasty when barbecued, oftentimes accompanied with Romesco sauce. Calçots have become such a beloved staple of local Catalan cuisine that they’ve earned a Protected Geographic Indication label from the European Union!
How to best cook calçots…
When in Catalonia you will buy calçots in a large bundle. No need to clean them, they will be well cleaned by the heat of the barbecue flames – because flames are essential when cooking calçots properly. Place them in a row on the grill and turn your calçots every few minutes until they are blackened all over apart from the green stalk. You will know when your calçots are ready, when a little of their juice starts to bubble from their blackened roots. Whip them off the barbecue and wrap them in several layers of newspaper. The newspaper allows calçots to steam a little as they cool, so that the outer leaves come off easily for eating. Now you can enjoy them!
How to eat calçots
Peel off the blackened outer layer, by then dip the inner part of your calçot in Romesco sauce. Romesco sauce is a spicy tomato-based garlicky sauce; which is perfect when matched with the subtle taste of calçots. Lift the calçot above your head so it hangs down vertically, tip your head back and lower the calçot into your mouth. Be warned that this can be messy business!
If you are interested in learning more about traditional Catalan foods, we offer private cooking classes with charming Catalan chefs, as well as genuine Catalan local experiences, like open air calçotadas, when in season. Our gourmet culinary vacations, be it in Catalonia, other parts of Spain, Portugal,France or Italy, will allow you to to indulge in all kinds of authentic local flavours, in the safety of your own private bubble.