“but they’re hardly the everyday supermarket variety. They take as long as a year-and-a-half to grow starting with seed onions planted in September or October (always when the moon is waning, say traditionalists), then transplanted about two months later when the shoots have pushed up through the ground. In late June or early July, they’re harvested and stored in a dry place while they germinate again; then in August or September, they’re trimmed and replanted – this time in trenches. As they begin to sprout once more, earth is packed around the new growth to blanch it – and this is how calcots get their name, from the berb calcar, to put on shoes or boots. (The Catalan word for shoe in fact , is the almost identical calcat).”
And I’ve never seen them outside of Catalonia.
Catalan Cuisine, eschews the use of food-porn photographs, for masses of such information and dozens of recipes related to the rich culinary background of the region.
“With 200 showstopping recipes that are easy to prepare and sure to amaze – plus fascinating facts about the traditions, history and culture of Catalonia – Catalan Cuisine is required reading for any adventurous cook of Spanish food aficionado.”
Although American in origin Catalan Cuisine is highly recommended; it was incidentally itself recommended to me by a British newspaper journalist while on a trip to Barcelona where the joys of visiting Freixenet, sampling the Freixenet Cavas and still wines, in addition to consuming copious quantities of Calcots were ‘endured’.
A recipe from the book, but using miniature leeks rather than the impossible to find Calcots, is available on SpittoonExtra: Calcots Fregits (Deep-Fried Calcots). There is also details on how to make a perfect Romesco sauce.
Catalan Cuisine: Vivid Flavors from Spain’s Mediterranean Coast is the perfect source for authentic recipes to accompany wines from the region – Cordorniu Cava, Freixenet or from Scala Dei for example. The book is available from Amazon.co.uk for £9.09.