Grilled Scallions Recipe: An Ode to Spring Calçots From Catalonia
Slightly charred and kissed with smoke, grilled scallions and green onions 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 in spring: 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.
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.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.
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.
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.
Serve. Enjoy the grilled calçots with a bowl of romesco sauce for dipping. Wash it down with Catalan wine.
Party. Here we see Chef Anthony Bourdain drinking from a porron.
Published On: 3/12/2014
Last Modified: 4/16/2021
Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.