08 July 2012

A Taste of Catalonia: Escalivada

The heat spell broke Friday night with a mild thunderstorm and a refreshing rain, and Saturday we woke up to a rejuvenating coolness. Thankfully, the day was never hot enough to be uncomfortable, so we gathered in my sister's back yard in there heart of town for a girls' night. My brother, visiting from Illinois, left for his class reunion, but my brother-in-law gamely stuck around for a Catalan treat: Escalivada, prepared by Anna, the family's summer exchange student, a truly delightful and self possessed young lady.

We grownups sipped a plummy, jammy Michigan rose wine while Anna coated with olive oil and then roasted one very large eggplant and 4-5 red peppers - smaller, she note, than in her country - along with a huge, sweet onion wrapped in foil, carefully turning the vegetables for even cooking. Once the vegetables were thoroughly roasted, she allowed them to cool a bit before carefully peeling them.

Anna sliced tomatoes in half the long way while my brother-in-law toasted slices of bread on the grill. Once the bread was toasted, Anna instructed us to rub it with tomatoes, making sure to soak the bread with tomato juice. Next, we piled the bread high with the eggplant, which was almost a spread-like consistency, and then the peeled peppers. Next came onions, anchovies and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, plus a dash of sea salt.

The result was an open-faced sandwich. Here is a more detailed set of instructions, basically the same approach as Anna's. Read more here.

There are apparently other approaches, including using garlic instead of onion. We ate our escalivada with a refreshing green salad.

It reminded me so much of the ratatouille I will be making soon. The farm stands are up! Our warm spring has brought an early harvest.

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10 comments:

Penny said...

What a perfect recipe for the summer season with all fresh ingredients. So glad your heat wave is over. Also glad that you are posting again. I've missed you.

M Johns said...

Why, thank you, Penny! How was your trip?

Kalyn Denny said...

This sounds like such a fun and interesting dish!

Christine said...

This sounds sooooo good! No eggplant here yet but will save this recipe for late summer. Then, watch out! Some tomato-soaked bread is gonna happen!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Anything with eggplant...YUM. This sounds so fabulous. I have got to do this.

M Johns said...

Kalyn, it was great fun having Anna prepare this and share her family customs with us - and it was tasty, too.

Christine, the tomato infused bread has really inspire me.

Cyn, it's so simple, but what we enjoyed was the ritual of roasting the vegetables. Anna is a delight and my sister and her family are having a lot of fun showing her the area and beyond.

Fiona said...

A lovely evening with good food, drink and company.

M Johns said...

Indeed it was. Lots of those this summer!

Funny how every summer takes on its own theme...

katiez said...

I saw the picture and thought 'Gee, that looks like the real thing - rarely seen in the US' Then I read the post... It was the real thing. (Many US cooks like to, er, do stuff to it.... It's a simple, peasant dish and perfect the way it is)

Mimi said...

We thought so, too! It was just so much fun learning from Anna.