Thursday, January 21, 2010

Grilled Calçots (Green Onions) with Salsa Romesco

Love at first bite.

First of all, apologies for misleading everyone, as these are not really true calçots.

What are calçots?

Once again, I first heard of them courtesy of Culinaria Spain a couple of years ago. Calçots are young green onions that are earthed up (that is, covered with earth) to blanch them as they grow. They are a Catalan delicacy; Catalonia is in northeastern Spain.

The season for calçotades (gatherings or events where one eats calçots) is from around November or December until March or so. Calçots are cooked over open fire until blackened, then wrapped in newspaper to keep warm. To eat, one peels off the charred outside and dips the calçot in salvitxada or romesco sauce.çot

Reading about them already intrigued me, then I saw the real thing on an old episode of No Reservations, with Tony Bourdain attending a calçotada. Man, they looked so good.

Well, obviously we couldn't get real calçots here in Vancouver, so we made do with regular ol' green onions.

Whoa, fire!

The green onions we had weren't very thick at all, so I didn't want to char them too much. Of course, it would've been better if we had them over open flame on the grill outside. However, it was being used as an "oven" to reheat our lengua estofada and cocido while our real oven indoors was busy cooking other stuff for our New Year's Eve party.

I had to make do with a grill pan. If it's any consolation, there was quite a number of small fires on that grill pan while the green onions were cooking.

No recipe for this one. Just toss green onions in olive and season with salt. Grill. These grilled green onions must absolutely be served with Romesco sauce.

This dish was my absolute favorite among all the dishes at the party.

Yes, I liked it better than lengua estofada, better than gambas al ajillo (prawns with garlic), better than our cocido (hearty pork stew), better than bacalao con patatas, better than the empanada, and even better than the fideuá (seafood noodle "paella").

And those were all very good eating!

But, those green onions were transformed after their brief stay on the grill. Their fragrance was intoxicating!

Paired with the Romesco sauce, they seem to have transcended to a higher plane of deliciousness. Truly, the pair was more than the sum of their parts.

Who knew that the lowly green onion had so much soul to give? Next time we go to market, we're going to stock up on these 49 cents per bundle of green onions and have ourselves another feast.

See the rest of our Spanish-themed New Year's Eve Menu here.

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Grilled Calçots (Green Onions) with Salsa Romesco

green onions, as many as you wish
olive oil
Romesco sauce
recipe here)

Toss green onions in olive oil and season with salt. Grill.
Serve with Romesco sauce.

[eatingclub] Spanish
Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish "Omelette")
Roast Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines)
Red Wine-braised Squid with Potatoes and Chorizo
Philippine Beef Salpicao (and a Spanish variation)
Stewed Tripe, Spanish-style
Lengua Estofada (Beef Tongue Braised in Red Wine and Veal Stock)
Bacalao con Patatas (Baked Salt Cod and Potatoes)
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Grilled Calçots (Green Onions) with Salsa Romesco
Empanada de Pavo
(Galician-style Meat Pie with Turkey Filling), plus Turkey Cracklings!

Fideuá (Spanish Seafood Noodle "Paella")... and Paella
Cocido (Spanish Stew with Various Pork Cuts)
Slow-Roast Pork Shoulder, Two Ways


  1. Even if those aren't the real thing they look amazing

  2. oo great idea! I've never cooked green onions like this!

  3. Huh, I wonder what the lack of chlorophyll imparts to the taste :) Better than lengua, gambas and fideos? This I have to taste!!

  4. That's a lot and a lot and a lot of green onions!

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  6. Congratulations! What a truly beautiful site for Romescu. So well photographed and described, in fact, that I have subscribed to your blog. I live in Carlisle but have spent from 1986 to 2007 living in Spain. Romescu is indeed one of the Queens of Sauces, bar none.

  7. kat:

    Grilling them made them nore than "just" green onions! =)

    I guess they just have a longer white part? But yeah, these were so good. But then, I *am* an onion freak.

    Thanks for subscribing! =)


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