The bib, the pull and the tile with the calçots roasted and protected by newspaper, they are the hallmark of the Catalan winter. With the city of Valls as the epicenter of a fever that has made this particular chive to its best ambassador, the tasty epidemic has also landed in Madrid.
At least that is what transpires in the media, which give voice to this noble vegetable, daughter of onions and cousin of garlic and leekswhich in times where the grill abounds has found a place in the capital.
With its liturgy of pulling to remove burned skinwell smeared in the romesco sauce and with another pull, this time to eat it, more and more people from Madrid have put a calçot in their lives.
Although classicism, as we have already told you on other occasions, invites these onion stems to be consumed from one year to the next —a fundamental condition to calça (cover with earth) the onion and for this tender stem to come out— is roasted in the live flame of the vine, the reality is that it is not a very simple practice.
He use of these branches after winter pruning It made it possible to make the most of the calçot, which in addition to the embers needed to be reddened later so that with the residual heat they could finish cooking. Tender and with bite, not hard. That’s how they should be and that’s how they should be sprinkled with romesco or salvitxada, to maintain purism.
But what about calçot in Madrid? Has the capital taken to the streets to unleash this passionate onion with a Catalan accent or is it more of a myth? The reality is that in Madrid there are not many Catalan cuisine restaurants, but those that do exist have a loyal following that also idolizes calçot.
We speak with one of these banners, the restaurant Can Punyetes (with a location on Calle San Agustín and another on Calle Nuestros Señores de Luzón), which is, along with Casa Jorge (C. de Cartagena, 104), the “lifelong” restaurant where you can eat calçots in Madrid. There they assure us that there is a certain wave. “Yes it is true that we noticed a little more interest this year than years ago“, explains by telephone Ivan Melian.
“There is everything. People who come for the first time and people who already know, but It is true that it is not like a few years ago. The calçot arrives to us from the beginning of November and the season lasts until the end of March”, he explains.
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Giving enough time to Madrid surrenders with relish to this onion religion that in Catalonia it has thousands of followers and that it has managed to take the airlift to land in the capital. Of course, prepare the bib: beyond any bank of the Ebro, you have to have a certain talent so that the calçot does not stain.
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