Calçots At Home

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you because of a delayed flight? 

Despite the frecuency of my airline trips, I've been quite lucky up to now.  But this year, a delayed flight (not mine, but one of a friend) caused me to miss one of the year's most important traditions: the calçotada. We had the weekend planned in one of Spain's little coastal villages, but a late flight left us stranded at home in San Sebastián.

My friends being my friends, however, they gifted me a bundle of calçots upon their return to cook up at home (they also gifted me a tub of romesco, but we're going to pretend like that didn't happen since it somehow got devoured before it made it to the refrigerator).

What is a calçot? The calçot is an onion, a generic onion, pulled from the ground, allowed to sprout, and then reburied. The farmer then continues heaping soil over it during its growing period, preserving the whiteness and the slim shape, similar to a leek. Typically, they are charred over open fire and left to rest in newspaper, but you can create a similar effect right at home in your own oven, which is what we did.

The traditional dipping sauce served with these charred alliums is romesco. I have a version here, but lately I have been making with tomatos, almonds, and roasted garlic as well. Make plenty of won't go to waste. Trust.

calçots at home

  • one bunch of calçots (you could try subbing baby leeks or green onions)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • romesco sauce (one version here)

Preheat oven to 475º. Peel off exterior layer of calçots. Rub or rinse off any remaining dirt. Set on an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Pop into oven, rearranging occasionaly, until calçots are both charred and tender. Serve with romesco.