The authentic taste of Catalonia – Lawrence Murphy
In the Catalan region of Spain in winter there is a festival called Calcotada where people gather to eat spring onions and drink large quantities of red wine.
The spring onions are called calcots, and cooked on open fires until the outside is deeply charred.
The outer black leaves are removed to reveal the tender white centre which is dipped into a sauce of red peppers and almonds. It is a variation of Romesco sauce made by fishermen to eat with their catch.
I use fresh peppers charred with a blow torch and the skin scraped off.
It’s great with grilled fish, prawns or even charred calcots.
Ingredients – serves six
3 red peppers
2 cloves garlic
100g roasted almonds
50g roasted hazelnuts
Dessertspoon sweet paprika
Splash sherry vinegar
150 ml good olive oil
1. Rub the red peppers with olive oil and torch with a blow torch until black all over, or roast in a hot oven.
2. Allow to cool and scrape or peel away the skin.
3. Remove the stem and seeds then roughly chop.
4. Put the roasted nuts into a blender and pulse until they look like fine breadcrumbs.
5. Add the paprika, garlic and a good pinch of sea salt. Now add the peppers and pulse for 15 seconds.
6. Add the vinegar and the olive oil and blend until you have a fairly course consistency.
7. The sauce will store in the fridge for five days.