Derived from the Catalan word escalivar (to cook close to the heat source), Escalivada is a rustic dish of aubergines, capsicums, onions and other char-grilled vegetables cut into strips, dressed with lots of garlic and best olive oil and served over Catalan coca flat-bread
This is a dish requiring the best possible ingredients for maximum flavour impact.
Aubergines are obligatory, with thick fleshed capsicums, courgettes, onions, leeks and endives being suitable accompaniments. The best escalivada is cooked over hot charcoal. Oven roasting makes a decent alternative.
- 2 aubergines
- 4 capsicums red, green, yellow
- 3 medium onions, peeled or two leeks, white part only
- 2 cloves garlic
- olive oil cold-pressed extra virgin
- salt and pepper
- chopped parsley
- Catalan coca or other flat-bread such as ciabatta
- place the aubergines, peppers and onions or leeks on a lightly oiled baking tray. Place on a high shelf in the oven preheated to the highest setting. The vegetables will need a good 30 minutes and should be well blackened
- alternatively place the vegetable directly over hot charcoal, turning them frequently with tongs until charred on all sides
- cover the vegetables with parchment paper and place a clean tea-towel on top to hold in the heat for a further 10-15 minutes
- remove all the charred skin from the aubergines. Do the same with the capsicum and remove the seeds. You can use running water to help you but you'll lose flavour so resort to this only for those very stubborn seeds and keep it to a minimum - or not at all. Peel off the outermost layer of the onions or leeks
- cut the vegetables into strips and arrange on a flat dish. Sprinkle on salt and pepper, garlic and chopped parsley then douse with olive oil to your heart's content