Calçotada: A Catalan Allium Bacchanal

The Calçot is a scallion varietal that is grown in Catalonia. Commonly accepted folklore (e.g. Wikipedia) tells us that Xat de Benaiges, a Catalan farmer, grew Calçots by covering the edible part in dirt. This induces a phenomenon called etiolation. There I go again using one of those sexy food words.   Etiolation occurs when plants don’t receive sunlight, preventing chlorophyll from forming, keeping them a pale white color.  This is the same process used to create white asparagus. A similar process, that involves burying me in work, is used to induce etiolation in Pablo.

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The Catalans or Catalonians as they would probably rather not be called, throw barbeque like parties called Calçotada’s, where calçots are grilled over dried vines and then smothered in sauce and eaten while drinking ridiculous amounts of wine.

I don’t live in Spain, which makes me sad for a whole host of reasons. But fortunately, in my own neighborhood, I discovered:

calcotada_bf

Wintered leeks (about as close as you are going to get in NYC) substituted for Calçots. It was pretty fucking awesome. I could go on about how delicious everything was, (which everything really f’n was), or I can tell you how you can actually put together your own Calçotada. Right here, Right now. 

The components:

  1. Leeks. Again, you probably aren’t going to find Calçots. Leeks are just fine for this.
  2. Fire. Used to grill the leeks (and also meat). Unlikely you are going to be able to build a fire out of vines. Wood or charcoal should be just fine.
  3. Meats. Sausage and Lamb Chop. Keep it simple and carnal (big pile of meat).
  4. Romesco/Romescu Sauce. Catalan ketchup. A nut (hazelnut or almond) based garlicky, pepper sauce. There is also a regional variant called Mxylplyx. Oh no, wait, it’s called Salvitxada. I’ll be honest, I haven’t deduced what the difference between the sauces are yet.
  5. Wine. Red, Rose or Cava. More important than type of wine, what you really need is a…
  6. Porron. This is basically a beer bong for winos.  Imagine a vase with a spout that comes to a narrow point coming from the bottom.  Can’t imagine it? Here:

    porr_n_de_vino

    Tip the point into your mouth and extend your hand holding the Porron as far from your face as you can, keeping the narrow jet of wine pouring into your mouth.  When you can’t take any more: bring the point close to your face and return it to an upright position, attempting, but most likely failing, to prevent pouring wine on your face and shirt.  Repeat ad nauseum… sometimes literally.

Congratulations! Now you can have your own Calçotada.

You’re welcome Internet.

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