Grilled Scallions Recipe: An Ode to Spring Calçots From Catalonia

Slightly charred and kissed with smoke, grilled scallions are a wonderful side dish or as an addition to countless dishes.

In early spring in Spain there are aromatic festivals in many villages in Catalonia, the region around Barcelona. The Festa de la Calçotada, consecrates the first thing edible from the garden: Green onions called calçots.

The calçot is a thick sort of green onion or scallion. They are planted in summer, and pop out of the ground early in spring. They are grown like white asparagus, by mounding dirt around the young shoots as they emerge so the sun can't strike them. The result is a long thick white stalk with a crown of green leaves at the top.

Click here to

Average: 1.9 (31 votes)

Average Rating - Votes are tabulated end of day

Please rate this recipe ONLY after you cook it: 

Share This Recipe:

Print Recipe


Grilled calçots, similar to green onions or scallions, with romesco sauce, are a delicious rite of spring in Spain. As calçots aren't readily available in the US, this recipe features scallions that are grilled over high heat until charred and the tops get crispy, and they are seasoned by smoke.

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Appetizer. Side Dish. Vegetable.

Cuisine. Spanish.

Makes. 2 servings as a side dish

Takes.Takes. 5 minutes prep. 5 cook time.


2 handfuls of scallions

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup romesco sauce


1) Prep. Rinse the scallions, cut off the dead and brown greens, chop off the roots, pull off the dirty outer layer from the bulbs, and sprinkle them lightly with salt, pepper, and olive oil in that order.

2) Fire up. Preheat the grill in a 2-zone configuration. Align the grill grates so that you can place the bulbs directly over the hot side, and the greens over the indirect zone, without them falling through. Leave the lid open and stand by the grill, rolling the onions around and letting them char a bit but not blacken too much. The greens should toast nicely, but if they don't get crispy, you can flip the greens over the direct heat for a minute or two.

3) Serve. Enjoy the grilled calçots with a bowl of romesco sauce for dipping. Wash it down with Catalan wine.

"Some onions make me cry. Scallions make me laugh."Meathead

Calçotada (the live-fire events that celebrate the vegetable) feature calçots grilled quickly over grapevine cuttings until charred and the tops get crispy, and they are seasoned by smoke. The vegetables are then wrapped in newspaper to steam, peeled to remove the dirty outer layer, presented on clay roof tiles to keep them warm, dipped in romesco sauce, a paste of sweet red peppers, almonds, garlic and olive oil, and, with head thrown back, slurped down like a pelican swallowing a fish, biting off the white part and discarding the green.

Video: Calçotada Festival

The Calçotada Festival in Spain celebrates the harvest.

Sausages and chicken are thrown on the grill and the whole feast is washed down with cava, the delightful sparkling wine from the Penedes region, or the local red wine, also slurped with head back, from a porron, the classic Spanish bottle with a nozzle. Here we see Chef Anthony Bourdain drinking from a porron.


We have a patch of our herb garden in which we have planted a type of wild onion. We pretty much ignore the patch and it rewards us with tender green onions in spring. I don't bother mounding up the dirt, but I do have several grapevines, so I can cook them the traditional way. But you can do this at home with storebought scallions and any old grill, even a gas grill. It is a ritual of spring at my house. When done, their bright and smoky flavor makes the perfect grilled side dish for your next BBQ cookout.

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.




Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad free experience and much more!

Millions come to every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us. 

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.

Post comments and questions below


1) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

2) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer.

3) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different than your membership login.



Click to ask questions and make comments