An American could easily confuse calçots in the supermarket for leeks. Calçots are grown regionally in Valls, a small town in Tarragona, where it is said a peasant started the tradition of eating calçots by charring them over a barbecue and peeling the outer burnt layers. The peasant sought to salvage the onions instead of starving and throwing them away. The tender part of the barbecued onion is then dipped in salvitxada and held above your mouth. You lower the calçot covered in romesco sauce into your mouth and slowly eat away at the calçot as you would a piece of licorice or french fry, only in reverse position.
The best setting for experiencing a calçotada is at a masia owned by a Tarragonan friend and barbecuing outdoors. We had a friend whose family owned a masia out in the back country in Tarragona where we got to pull out the calçots directly from the earth, grilling them on the barbecue, and dipping them in the best homemade salvitxada I have ever provat.
Here is what you do if you don't have a friend with a masia or do not feel like going to a restaurant and opening your mouth like jaws in front of patrons staring at you as you swallow calçots. Resort to using your broiler i ja està! Calçots a la broiler! I tried it this weekend and they turned out tan deliciós, que bo.
I shopped for my calçots at my online provider for fruita y verdura ecològica, all fruits and vegetables include dirt and critters. The calçots mysteriously appeared as a seasonal item to purchase in late April, hmm.
|Err, my romesco sauce was not homemade|
|But it was prepared with artisanal methods|
|Washed and stripped|