Calçots, calçots, calçots!

(To the tune of the Barça FC anthem)

As I’ve mentioned before, calçots are one of the true seasonal delights of living in this part of the world.

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A common sight at the front of many fruit and vegetable shops in Tortosa right now.

If the winter sun is shining, then I can’t think of a better to spend your Saturday afternoon than gorging yourself on these sweet oniony treats at a calçotada.

These past couple of months, H and I have gone from being complete calçot noobs to pretty much experts. (And you thought I’d been quiet on the blog because I’d been doing science!) Experts at eating them I mean, not preparing or cooking them.

We now know not to eat too much the night before or the morning of a calçotada, as is the case with most Catalan meals.

We also know that dressing for a calçotada is in a similar category as dressing for Melbourne. Prepare for sunshine and good times, but also pack a jacket and a scarf just in case the wind arrives or the sun leaves.

We’re also aware that wearing a white t-shirt to a calçotada is a very silly idea indeed if you want it to stay clean.

Each of the calçotadas we’ve been lucky enough to attend follow a gloriously similar procedure over about 4 hours:

Step 1: Arrive and have a beer or vermouth with some chips and olives in the sun. If you are assisting in the cooking the slippery suckers, you can do this while helping.

Step 2: Wait with increased anticipation while the calçots are removed from the fire and wrapped in newspaper (where they continue to cook). Have another beer.

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Calçots roasting on an open fire.

Step 3: Go time! Grab a bib or napkin to protect your front, and dig into the spread of burnt onions that are now laid out in front of you.

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Cooked calçots ready for eating

Take a calçot from the top, holding the inner leaves, and pull away the outer, burnt part of the onion from the bottom. Separating the calçot this way is very important, as it is the best method to extract the sweet cooked calçot inside.

Dip the clean, cooked, white part into a bowl of romesco-style sauce, and eat it down in one go, like this:

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H shows you how it’s done.

Step 4: Repeat Step 3 until you are 70% full.

Step 5: Wash your hands.

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The aftermath.

Step 6: Move inside for the rest of lunch. Yes, there’s more. The remaining feast includes, but it not limited to: salad, cured meats, sausages, baldanas, lamb chops, bacon, bbq-ed artichokes, patatas, and bread with aioli. Don’t forget to sample the wine.

Step 7: Dessert, generally with cava.

Step 8: Coffee

Step 9: Sunset, and time to waddle home.

Step 10: Wait a couple of weeks, and repeat.

Many thanks to our lovely friends and calçot experts for providing such excellent training!

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