Calçots con salsa romesco

How to make Calçots con Salsa Romesco

During a memorable foray into the heart of Catalonia, I was introduced to a dish that embodies the essence of Catalan culinary tradition: Calçots con Salsa Romesco. This unique and delicious specialty is centered around grilled spring onions (calçots) dipped in Romesco sauce, a rich and nutty blend of cayenne pepper, ñora peppers, and plum tomatoes, among other ingredients. The smoky sweetness of the calçots, paired with the complex, tangy warmth of the sauce, creates a symphony of flavors that are truly unmatched.

Intrigued by this exquisite pairing, I embarked on a quest to master the art of creating this authentic Catalan delight. Through dedication and a passion for capturing the authenticity of the flavors, I succeeded in recreating this traditional dish. It is with great excitement that I now share with you this cherished recipe, inviting you to experience the vibrant legacy of Catalonia’s culinary wonders right in your own kitchen. Join me in celebrating the rich tapestry of tastes that Calçots con Salsa Romesco has to offer.

Calçots con Salsa Romesco Recipe

Calçots con salsa romesco

Calçots con Salsa Romesco

Calçots con Salsa Romesco is a celebrated Catalan dish, deeply rooted in the region's cultural and culinary traditions, offering a unique and flavorful dining experience. Central to this dish are calçots, which are a type of tender, sweet spring onion, grilled until perfectly charred and then typically served on a terra cotta tile, embodying the essence of simplicity and flavor. These grilled onions are then dipped in Salsa Romesco, a rich and complex sauce made from a blend of roasted ñora peppers, ripe plum tomatoes, garlic, almonds, and olive oil, seasoned with a touch of cayenne pepper for a subtle warmth. The contrast between the smoky sweetness of the calçots and the tangy, nutty depth of the Romesco sauce creates a symphony of flavors that celebrates the harvest and communal eating.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Vegetable
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 10
Calories 428 kcal


  • 1 oven


  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground Cayenne pepper
  • 25 raw hazelnuts
  • 25 raw Marcona almonds
  • 5 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 2 + tablespoons vinegar sherry
  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 dried ñora peppers


  • Place the oras in water the day before to hydrate them, then cut the stem and any seeds.
  • Dry the toast a few hours ahead of time, then toast till golden brown in the toaster.
  • Allow it cool before removing the crusts and cutting them into smaller pieces.
  • Before placing the clove of garlic and cherry tomatoes in the oven, spray them with olive oil and roast for approximately 35 mins at 400°F (200°C).
  • Allow everything to cool before mixing it.
  • To taste, add additional vinegar, sugar, and cayenne pepper.
  • Serve the sauce with roast veggies or as a sandwich spread.
Keyword Marcona almonds, ñora peppers, plum tomatoes

Cooking tips about Calçots con Salsa Romesco

10 platos con calçots

  • Selecting and Preparing Calçots: Choose calçots that are fresh and firm, ideally medium-sized for even cooking. Rinse them thoroughly to remove any soil, since they’re typically grown covered to achieve their signature white stems. Drying them before grilling is also recommended to prevent steaming on the grill.
  • Grilling Calçots: Traditionally, calçots are grilled over an open flame until their outer layer is charred, giving them a smoky flavor while tenderizing the inner flesh. If you’re using a home grill or barbecue, aim for a high heat and turn them occasionally for an even char. Don’t worry about burning the outer layer; it’s meant to be peeled off before eating.
  • Making the Romesco Sauce: The sauce is a cornerstone of this dish, with its complex flavor profile coming from roasted ñora peppers, ripe plum tomatoes, garlic, almonds, and olive oil. Each component should be prepared with care—roast the tomatoes and garlic to deepen their flavors, toast the almonds to bring out their nuttiness, and soak the ñora peppers to make them pliable. Blend all ingredients into a smooth, rich sauce, seasoning with cayenne pepper and a splash of vinegar for brightness.
  • Serving and Eating: Present the grilled calçots on a terracotta tile or large platter, accompanied by the Romesco sauce for dipping. Eating calçots is a hands-on experience—guests peel the charred outer layers to reveal the tender insides, which are then dipped into the sauce and enjoyed. Providing plenty of napkins or even bibs is a must, as this can be a beautifully messy affair.
  • Accompaniments: To round out the meal, serve calçots con Salsa Romesco as part of a larger feast, including grilled meats, seafood, and perhaps some traditional Catalan sides. A crisp, vibrant salad can offer a refreshing counterpoint to the smokiness of the calçots and the richness of the Romesco sauce.
  • Pairing with Wines: A local Catalan wine, such as a young red Garnacha or a white Priorat, pairs wonderfully with the smoky sweetness of the calçots and the complexity of the Romesco sauce, encapsulating the spirit of Catalonia’s culinary heritage in each sip.

Serving suggestions about Calçots con Salsa Romesco

Calçots con salsa romesco - Blog Dexeus Mujer

  • Outdoor Grilling: Emulate the traditional way of enjoying Calçots by grilling them outdoors over an open flame. This method imparts a smoky flavor that is quintessential to the dish.
  • Terracotta Tiles or Large Platters: Serve the grilled calçots on terracotta tiles or large platters to mimic the rustic and communal essence of the typical Catalan “Calçotada,” where friends and family gather to share this meal.
  • Romesco Sauce: Accompany the calçots with ample Romesco sauce for dipping. The nutty, tangy warmth of the sauce complements the sweet char of the calçots perfectly. Serving the sauce in individual bowls can make the dipping process easier and more hygienic, especially when eating in a group.
  • Hands-On Eating: Encourage diners to embrace the traditional hands-on approach by peeling the charred outer layers of the calçots with their fingers to reveal the tender inner flesh, which is then dipped into the Romesco sauce before being savored.
  • Bibs and Napkins: Provide bibs and plenty of napkins, as eating calçots can be a joyously messy affair. This not only adds to the authenticity of the experience but also ensures guests enjoy the meal without worry.
  • Side Dishes: Complement Calçots con Salsa Romesco with side dishes such as grilled meats (like lamb or sausages), bread for dipping into the Romesco sauce, and a fresh salad to balance the flavors.
  • Beverage Pairings: Pair the meal with local Catalan wines, such as a young red Garnacha or a crisp white wine like Cava, to enhance the dining experience. These wines can cut through the richness of the Romesco sauce and refresh the palate between bites.
  • Dessert: Finish the meal with a simple, light dessert such as Catalan cream or fresh fruits to cleanse the palate and end on a sweet note.

Top 5 FAQs about Calçots con Salsa Romesco

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  • What are calçots and how do they differ from regular onions? Calçots are a specific variety of spring onion native to Catalonia, known for their tender and sweet taste. They are larger than green onions but more delicate than standard white or yellow onions. The unique cultivation process, which involves replanting the onions to encourage growth without chlorophyll, results in calçots’ distinctive elongated shape and mild flavor.
  • What makes Salsa Romesco unique, and what are its key ingredients? Salsa Romesco is a vibrant, nutty sauce that hails from the Catalan region of Spain. Its uniqueness lies in its combination of roasted ñora peppers, plum tomatoes, garlic, almonds, and olive oil, seasoned with cayenne pepper for a subtle kick. This mix creates a complex flavor profile that’s rich, tangy, and slightly smoky, making it a perfect complement to the sweetness of calçots.
  • How should calçots be cooked for authentic flavor? For an authentic Calçots con Salsa Romesco experience, calçots should be grilled over an open flame until they are charred on the outside. This method imparts a smoky flavor to the tender onions. After grilling, the calçots are traditionally wrapped in newspaper to steam, making them even more succulent and easy to peel.
  • Can Calçots con Salsa Romesco be prepared in advance? While the Salsa Romesco can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for several days, enhancing its flavors, calçots are best prepared fresh. However, if necessary, grilled calçots can be reheated by wrapping them in foil and placing them in a warm oven for a few minutes. Just ensure they retain their tenderness without becoming overly soft.
  • Are there any dietary considerations for Calçots con Salsa Romesco? This dish is inherently vegetarian and can easily be adapted for vegan diets by ensuring there are no non-vegan ingredients in the Romesco sauce. Since the main components are vegetables and nuts, it’s suitable for many dietary restrictions, but those with nut allergies should modify the Romesco sauce accordingly.

Calçots con Salsa Romesco is not just a meal; it’s a celebration of tradition, camaraderie, and the simple joys of eating well. Rooted deeply in Catalan culture, this dish offers more than just the sumptuous taste of grilled onions dipped in a savory, complex sauce. It represents a communal experience, reminiscent of sunny days, laughter-filled gatherings, and the shared pleasure of peeling, dipping, and enjoying food together. As we bring this recipe into our kitchens, we do more than prepare a meal; we invite a piece of Catalan heritage into our homes, fostering connections over plates of charred calçots and rich Romesco sauce. Whether for a special occasion or a casual weekend feast, Calçots con Salsa Romesco stands as a testament to the enduring beauty of regional cuisines and the ways they can bring us together, transcending boundaries and creating memories that linger long after the last bite.


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