Calcots are not spring onions. Don’t ever say that to a Catalan. These forced onions are such a speciality that they hold massive feasts to celebrate their arrival. This feast, the Calcotada, is so popular in Spain and in the last few years, the Calcots fever has hit London too. Brindisa is now importing fresh calcots every week. They will be serving them at their special Calcotada events, to be held every weekend until the end of March.
Calcots are grown from onions, halved and planted deep in the soil. As they grow, the soil is piled on to encourage the stems to lengthen, up to 15cm- 20cm. They look like small leeks. It also has PGI status. From these halves, several shoots of calcots can grow. This is a seasonal produce and is only available for a short season in February and March.
How to eat Calcots like a Catalan
Traditionally, they are cooked over fire until the outer skin is charred. At a Calcotada, big bundles are barbecued on big open fires, wrapped in newspaper. Sometimes, they are served on hot roof tiles. Everyone gets a paper bib as this can get messy.
To eat them, you pinch the root of the calcots and pull. The charred layers will be peeled off in one neat action. You then dip the white ends into a bowl of Romesco sauce and enjoy. Only eat the white part. This is washed down with copious amounts of red wine, drink from a porró.
Of course every season, there will be a Calcots eating competition where the winner will be the one who can peel and devour the largest number of these alliums. An average serving is about 25 calcots but at these competitions, they can eat upwards of a 100. That’s a lot of onions.
The Morada Brindisa Calcatoda menu includes a big bunch of Calcots, a plate of grilled meats and a pudding. Their Josper grill does a great job in replicating an outdoor BBQ to give the required smokey char.
The grilled calcots are sweet a delight with Brindisa’s Romesco sauce. The best seat in the house is at the bar that looks into the open kitchen. This way you can enjoy the theatrics and impact of the irresistible grilled meat aromas.
Any kitchen with a Josper grill will be sure to turn out some outstanding meat dishes. Here at Morada Brindisa, they deliver a plate of rare Iberico pork belly served pink and an Iberico fillet, lightly grilled, both tender and delicious.
On the plate are some spicy chorizo sausages and Butifarra (Catalan pork sausage), tender lamb cutlets, some potatoes, a grilled Spanish artichoke and roasted Spanish peppers. The specially sourced Spanish meat and vegetables are served with pride, as Chef Leo shares his passionate tales of the food from his homeland.
Accompanying this meat feast are a choice of wines, served in a porró. You can brave it and drink from the spout as shown or wimp out and pour it into a glass. As you get a paper bib to eat your Calcots with, there’s no fear of spilling wine all over yourself with the porró.
Calcotada in London
Brindisa has made the Calcotada a real occasion. Every weekend, they are recreating this fun winter food festival with fresh produce flown in weekly. You will need to book ahead as they only have limited quantities every weekend. The season is short, don’t miss the boat.
Morada Brindisa Asador
18-20 Rupert St, London W1D 6DF
Tel: 020 7478 8758
EatCookExplore was a guest of Morada Brindisa