Dedicated to the folks of The Healthy Helping who apparently had some trouble finding vegetarian cuisine options on their last visit to Barcelona. I know, if you think of Barcelona or Spanish cuisine in general you’ll think of Paella, Cured Ham, Chorizo, Butifarra and so on. But I can assure veggies are also worshipped on this side of the Atlantic.
I suggested them to try some catalonian traditional dishes that are 100% vegetarian, to try on their next visit to the city. In the meanwhile they asked me for some recipes to try at home. You may find them bellow
Pà amb tomaquet: (Bread with tomato)
This is the most traditional and simple dish, commonly served as an starter or a side dish. All you need is a nice loaf of peasant bread, a ripe tomato, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt (you can top it a notch with a clove of garlic).
I usually start by toasting the bread, that helps prevent bread disintegration during rubbing and add crunchiness. If you do so, as soon as you get your golden brown toast you can (only if you like garlic) cut off the bottom of the garlic clove and rub it (the bottomless clove) to the top face of the toast, then rub half tomato (cut face down) until you get a nice coat of tomato pulp on the toast and only the tomato skin on your hand. At this point you are ready to season your pà amb tomaquet with salt and a generous drizzle of EVOO.
Calçots: (Barbecued green Onions)
This dish consist literally on barbecue green onions, just rip the churned skin and eat the white part of the onion with your bare hand. Traditionally for the calçotada (celebration of this green onions harvest season) a dipping sauce named Romesco is prepared to dip the calçots once cooked. here is the recipe
- 2 Small ripe tomatoes
- 1 Garlic head
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 Jar of roasted peppers (drained)
- 1 tablespoon of powdered pimento (paprika may work as well but make sure is not the hot one)
- 2 slices of fried bread
- a dozen of roasted almonds
- a dozen of roasted hazelnuts
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- A gentle drizzle of Wine Vinegar
On a flat baking sheet set the tomatoes (make first a cross-like incision on the bottom this will help later to peel them) and the garlic head, drizzle with EVOO and take the tray to an oven preheated to 180 ºC for 15 min. Then peel the tomatoes and garlic skin and let cool down to room temperature. Set aside
On an ideal world you’ll work the nuts with a mortar to the point yo can still distinguish the small crumbs of almonds and hazelnut. If you don’t have the time (or patience) just put everything (roasted tomatoes, garlic, roasted pepper, fried bread, nuts, EVOO, Vinegar and salt) on a blender or food processor and mix until you get a really smooth paste. If you want the sauce to be lighter (runnier) can add some more vinegar and/or oil (or even the roasted pepper’s water) little by little making sure the taste is right.
This sauce can also work perfectly as a sandwich spread or salad dressing.