Escalivada is a typical preparation of Catalan cuisine that consists of several types of grilled vegetables, such as eggplants, sweet red peppers, red tomatoes, and sweet onions. Once well cooked on the grill, those vegetables are peeled and sliced in strips, the seeds removed, and seasoned with olive oil and salt, and sometimes with garlic as well.
Escalivar means to cook in hot ashes. Typically the vegetables in an escalivada are grilled, and the dish is served with grilled meats. Mountain shepherds were adept at packing their rucksacks with some cheese and wine and building a hardwood fire near a revetment of their sheep’s pasture where they could grill a medley of vegetables.
Escalivada - Catalan Roasted Vegetables
- 4 firm tomatoes
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 red capsicums (bell peppers)
- 2 medium onions
- 1 head garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 - 2 small bottles anchovy fillets
- Heat the oven to 175°C.
- Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil. If a large pan is not available, use two smaller pans, or baking sheets.
- Rinse the eggplant, capsicums, and tomatoes. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, and brush the cut side with olive oil and place cut side down in the pan. Make small slits in the skin of the eggplants so that they don't split open as they cook.
- Peel the onions, then place the capsicums, onions and head of garlic in the roasting pan. Brush all vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast in oven on middle rack for about 1 hour, turning vegetables over every 30 minutes or so. After 1 hour, add tomatoes to the pan and continue roasting until vegetables are cooked - for another 20 to 30 minutes. <em>(Note : If any vegetables, particularly peppers are thoroughly cooked, while others need more time, remove from pan and continue roasting the rest)</em>.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then, carefully remove the skin from peppers and eggplant. Cut roasted vegetables into strips and place them on a platter or tray with anchovy fillets. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Escalivada is typically served room temperature with plenty of slices of bread. Many cooks like to place the vegetables on a platter to create a colourful arrangement.
Cooks Notes & Variations
Spring Onions : Use two bunches of tender spring onions instead of brown onions. Wash thoroughly and trim the roots and the tops of the green portion. Roast with the vegetables, removing before they dry out.
Vinegar : Add a splash of vinegar to the platter before serving.
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