The Spanish love a fiesta, and the return of the calçot (say it ‘cal-sot’) season is as good an excuse to party as any.
Traditionally, the start of the season for these bigger, butcher siblings to the humble spring onion is celebrated with a calçotada – a Catalonian street party when the new-season spoils are chargrilled then dipped in romesco sauce and consumed messily en masse.
Back in London, we’re not rolling out the barrel or dusting off the bunting just yet, but several top Spanish restaurants that know their onions are getting excited about the arrival of the alliums.
At Tramontana Brindisa, until March 29, calçots are the star dish of a special menu; while at other outposts of the Brindisa chain, they are being served with romesco sauce or sold in bunches of ten. Meanwhile, traditional calçots also have pride of place on the menu at Fino for at least the next month. And over in Brixton, Boqueria is featuring them as part of a £30 Sunday lunch menu, accompanied with all manner of deftly barbecued meats (February 15 and 22 only).
No need for tears then, and that’s shallot (sorry).
By Nicola Arencibia