When I first started reading about Catalan food, this is the dish that I kept seeing at the top of every “you must try this” dish. This easy and rustic dish is very satisfying. It works beautifully on its own, or as a pairing to a series of other dishes, or perhaps a platter of roast meats. I chose some of my favorite vegetables to roast, but, you can change up the vegetables by season. Perhaps some asparagus and summer squash in the warmer months. Or leeks in the winter? The best part, you can make this ahead and serve it chilled! This is an amazing quality for a dinner where you are preparing several dishes.
One of the stars of our Catalan dinner was the Rabbit Paella with Artichokes. Many of the dishes on our menu were Pescatarian, a nod to the thriving fish markets in Barcelona and the whole Catalan region. To balance this out, I wanted to add some meat to our menu. Chicken seemed boring, and I have been cooking a lot of lamb of late, so I decided to go with some game. I couldn’t get my hands on more venison in time, so I decided to go for rabbit.
I am proud to say that last weekend we hosted our own traditional Calçotada! Calçots are similar to green onions and leeks and are in season in the Catalan region for a short time during the winter. From January to April, Catalans feast and celebrate these mild green onions by grilling them up on a fire and serving them with a delicious Romesco sauce made of fire roasted peppers, tomatoes, almonds, and toasted bread. Roast your calçots on an open flame if possible, that gives them a great flavor. A charcoal grill is a great alternative, and if it is -100 degrees outside, broiling them works great too!
The Bouillabaisse is foolproof! Bouillabaisse originates from Marseilles and was made of cheap cuts of fish and eaten by fishermen who reserved the better cuts to sell. Since then, it has become a quintessential dish. It is served with baguette and a Rouille drizzled into the soup to add flavor, much in the same way that sour cream is added to the Russian Borsht.
In comes Crudités! The harvest season seems a bit longer this year, due to the strange weather, so the farmer’s market is still awash with beautiful fall vegetables. I wanted to showcase their beauty and color. You can use any variety of veggies that you can get your hands on. Our platter had 2 varieties of radishes, green beans, Persian cucumbers, carrots, radicchio, baby bell peppers, asparagus, and some pistachios for crunch. We served our veggies with two sauces, a homemade aioli and homemade Caesar dressing.