Calçots: Exploring this Delicious Tradition

Calçots: Exploring this Delicious Tradition

Calçots, also known as “calçot” in singular form, are a cherished Catalan culinary delight with a history deeply rooted in the region’s culture. These tender and flavorful green onions, often referred to as spring onions or scallions, take center stage during festive gatherings known as “calcotadas.” In this article, we delve into the rich history of this green onions dish, explore their variations, and provide valuable tips and tricks to enhance your calçot experience.

A Brief Historical Journey: Origins of Calçots

The roots of calçots can be traced back to the early 20th century in Catalonia, Spain. The legendary Catalan farmer Xat de Benaigeshas the credits of developing the calçot variety. Through a unique hilling technique, that blanches the lower portion of the onion, the result is its distinctive mild flavor and tender texture. Over time, this green onions dish gained popularity as a seasonal delicacy. The tradition of the calcotada emerged as a communal celebration of food, family, and culture.

Calçots and Their Versatility: Exploring Variations

Calçots’ reputation limits doesn´t end at their traditional preparation alone; they also offer versatility in various culinary applications. As a type of green onion, calçots share characteristics with scallions and spring onions, leading to occasional confusion. While “green onions” and “scallions” uses are interchangeable, “green onions” typically refer to fully grown Allium fistulosum. “Scallions” often point to young onions with a milder taste.

Unveiling the Calçotada Tradition

A calcotada is more than just a meal; it’s a vibrant celebration that brings people together. Typically held between January and April. Calcotadas involve grilling large quantities of green onions over an open flame until charred on the outside and tender within. These grilled vegetables are then wrapped and allowed to steam. That makes the outer layers easier to peel off, revealing the succulent inner layers.

Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Calçotada Experience

  • Select calçots of similar size to ensure even cooking.
  • Brush the calçots with olive oil and sprinkle with salt before grilling.
  • Grill the calçots over a medium-high flame, turning them occasionally to achieve an even char.
  • After grilling, wrap the calçots in newspaper or foil to steam for a few minutes.

The Star of the Show: Romesco Sauce

No calçotada is complete without romesco sauce, a rich and flavorful condiment that complements the grilled calçots beautifully. Made from roasted red bell peppers, almonds, hazelnuts, tomatoes, and other ingredients. Romesco sauce provides a tangy and slightly spicy contrast to the sweet and smoky green onions.

Beyond Tradition: Creative Calçot Dishes

While the classic calcotada remains a beloved tradition, culinary enthusiasts have found innovative ways to incorporate calçots into modern dishes. From calçot-inspired salads and salsas to incorporating them into pasta dishes. The versatility of these green onions shines through in various cuisines.

Embracing the Flavorful Tradition of Calçots

Calçots are more than just grilled vegetables; they represent a cherished tradition that embodies Catalan culture and cuisine. With a history that spans over a century, these tender green onions have captured the hearts and taste buds of many. Whether enjoyed in a classic calcotada setting or incorporated into innovative dishes, the allure of calçots continues to thrive, bridging the gap between tradition and modernity in the world of culinary delights.


Calçots: Exploring this Delicious Tradition

Discover the culinary charm of calçots, tender green onions cherished in Catalan culture. Unearth their history, variations, and grilling tips for the iconic calcotada feast. From the innovative kitchen to traditional gatherings, explore the world of calçots and relish their unique flavor journey.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4


  • Calçots (green onions or large scallions)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt


  • Start by trimming the roots and the upper green parts of the calçots, leaving the white and pale green sections.
  • Preheat a barbecue or grill to medium-high heat.
  • Brush each calçot with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
  • Place the calçots on the grill directly over the flame.
  • Grill the calçots, turning occasionally, until they are charred on the outside and tender on the inside. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the calçots from the grill and wrap them in newspaper or aluminum foil to steam for a few minutes. This helps loosen the outer layers and makes them easier to peel.
  • To eat, peel off the charred outer layers to reveal the tender inner part of the calçot. Dip in romesco sauce (recipe here) and enjoy!


Note: The above times are approximate and can vary based on factors such as the quantity of calçots being prepared and the efficiency of your grilling setup.
Keyword calçots, green onions

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