Leeks with romesco

  • Side
  • 60 minutes plus time for lighting the barbecue

Every year in Catalonia the arrival of calçot season is celebrated with a calçotada festival, where many of these onion-like vegetables are barbecued and consumed alongside rich romesco sauce. Calçots are not widely available in the UK, so we recommend using leeks instead. Cooked over live fire, their interiors become tender and sweet.

First published in 2023






Light the barbecue. Once it is ready, grill the red peppers until they are charred and black all over. Remove the peppers from the heat


Cover the peppers tightly with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes or so – this will help the skins come off more easily


Wash any dirt or grit off the leeks and grill them on the barbecue until black all over - around 8 minutes. Wrap the leeks in newspaper in bundles of 4 or 5 and set aside for 15 minutes to finish steaming


Next, toast the almonds and hazelnuts in a dry pan until lightly golden. Remove them from the heat and set aside


Skin the tomatoes by making a cross shape in the bottom of each one then covering with boiling water for a few minutes. Drain the tomatoes, then plunge them into cold water and leave for a minute. The skins should now peel off easily


Peel the skins off the charred peppers and remove the seeds and stems


Place the almonds, hazelnuts, peppers and tomatoes in a blender with the remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt. Pulse to a coarsely-textured sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary


Serve the charred leeks with the sauce on the side

First published in 2023

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