Catalan Cooking with Ada Olpu week 3 – Escalivada
August 17, 2012
As aubergines, peppers , tomatoes and barbeques come into season, escalivada is a tasty and easy way to enjoy them: just throw them on the fire!
Escalivada is a traditional Catalan dish prepared on an open fire, as it uses both the flames and the embers, but it can also be done on a barbecue. Done in an oven it will be quite delicious too, just less smoky.
If you want to eat the escalivada along with the rest of your barbeque, start roasting the vegetables while the flames are still there: the skins will char but they are discarded anyway. If you want it for the next day, use whatever heat is left after cooking everything else and maybe cover the barbeque to make the most of it.
Escalivada is delicious on its own and it also goes very nicely with meat (obviously) or fish: cod, herring and tuna are the classical sidekicks. It also works as a pizza topping.
- Red peppers
- Onions (and garlic heads)
Wash and dry the vegetables. Leave everything whole.
Onions and garlic heads: wrap them in aluminium paper and cover them in embers.
Aubergines: place them on the sides of the barbecue and rotate them from time to time to cook them slowly and evenly . They are done when they become soft and start to crack. Don’t worry if the skin is a bit charred.
Peppers and tomatoes: roast them quickly on the hottest part of the barbecue until the skins swell and blacken. Flame licked is good but keep your hands safe!
As the you finish cooking the peppers and tomatoes, place them in a salad bowl or in a baking tin and seal it with cling film to trap the moisture in. When the aubergines are done, put them in the same recipient and seal again. Don’t forget to take the onions and garlic out of the embers!
Let the vegetables cool down until you can handle them and peel them over the bowl: they are juicy! Discard all the skins and the seeds of the peppers (let the tomatoes’ seeds be unless you really have something against them).
Tear the aubergines and peppers in long stripes, cut the onions in wedges and halve or quarter the tomatoes. Place the vegetables in a serving platter alternating the colours, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Done!
Basil, parsley or rosemary are not required but go for them if you like.
You can use the roasted garlic heads for an alternative dressing sauce: squeeze the roasted cloves out of their skins, mash with a fork and mix with some of the juices left over from peeling the vegetables and some olive oil.
You can save the leftover garlic cloves for up to a week if you peel them and place them in a jar, covered with oil and refrigerated. Stuff them in a baguette with some grated cheese and you will fall in love with garlic bread again!