Good Eatin’ – Calçots and Other Spanish Things

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

Right so I am really excited about us having booked a short break to Barcelona in a few month’s time. It really got me thinking about what food I would be able to tick off during our visit (hint: I will be on the hunt for Cadi butter).

I had this in mind during a recent visit to Borough Market, so much so that I made a beeline to Brindisa – a rather excellent Spanish import store that also sells cabrales and morcilla de burgos.

img_4747Food item: Calçot

This was an unexpected find, mainly because I had no idea about the Catalan tradition of Calçotada, whereby many calçots are grilled over flames to celebrate their harvest. Now, I don’t have access to a flame grill, but I do have a regular grill and a jar of Romesco sauce… so I figured that would be good enough.

img_4748 Food items: Idiazabal and Mosciame Del Tonno

So here are the calçots after being grilled in the over for 5-6 minutes per side and then left to steam in a paper bag for 15 minutes.

This is one of the few times where I have not been too nervous about over-grilling something as some of the pictures of grilled calçots online show them to be nearly totally black. Since you done eat the other charred layer of the calçot it doesn’t really matter if you slightly overdo them.

When you look at a calçot it basically look like a little spring onion made a successful wish on a star to become a leek. The taste is a lot milder than a regular spring onion, which probably explains how so many people can actually eat these with just a bit of sauce. If anything the incredibly tender insides of the calçot were sweet and somewhat creamy.

I am someone who cannot abide the taste of raw onion and I thought these gorgeous. I hope these are still in season when we visit Barcelona.

So, what about the other foods?

First there was the Idiazabal cheese. I think I am actually eating too much cheese at the moment. One bite of this and it was obvious to me that this was made from sheep’s milk (this is not something I could differentiate between before starting the list).

I got the smoked version of this cheese (from the taste I think this was smoked using beechwood, but I have no way of proving that. There was a slight tingle in my mouth from the lactic acid content, which might also explain the oily feel of the overall cheese. The smokiness wasn’t too strong either, especially compared to the smell.

Finally there was a slab of mosciame del tonno (mojama in Spanish). This isn’t exactly cheap at over £100 per kg. Even the small bit that I got was nearly £7, which felt a bit much for what I got, which is basically a dried tuna loin.

The saltiness of this dried fish is pretty intense on it’s own. This needs to be sliced as thin as possibly in order to best enjoy it. It was also nice on some bread if sliced just a bit thicker (think: the thickness of a match). Nice, but maybe not worth seeking out again.

Progress: 622/751

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