Calçotada: how to cook calçots

La calçotada is a great gastronomic event that you cannot miss. We tell you how to make calçots and succeed with the menu.

on today's menu


We are right in middle of the calçot season.  This traditional dish from Catalonian gastronomy has extended beyond its borders and it is becoming increasingly common to eat calçots in other parts of the country.  Calçots are a variety of soft onions with small bulbs which originate from the Ebro area and the regions of Alto Campo, Bajo Campo and the Bajo Penedés. They are the most iconic dish of Valls (Tarragona) and are only eaten during the winter. Their name comes from the verb which defines the process for obtaining the calçot: ‘calçar la terra’ (covering with earth), that is, placing earth around the onion stem to whiten it. 

How to cook calçots

The traditional way of preparing calçots is over a fire of vine shoots, although they can also be barbecued or even baked in the oven at home. The gastronomic outdoor celebration that gathers families and friends around this food is called the calçotada. It is a country festival   which is great fun, as guests end up with black fingers because this little onion is eaten with your hands. We explain, step-by-step, how to cook a traditional calçotada.

Calçotada menu

Ingredients (6 persons)

-4 bunches of calçots (25 calçots per bunch)

-romesco sauce




1. Untie the bunches of calçots and trim the green leaves so that they are easier to hold when eating.

2. Prepare the fire. Ideally, use vine shoots, but they will be just as good with any other type of firewood. The calçots are cooked in the flames, not on the embers or ashes.

3. Place the calçots on the grill in bunches of 25 with the white part towards the inner part of the flame and the green shoots towards the outside. 

4. Place the grill over the fire. Cook them for 5 to 7 minutes, turn them and leave them for another 7-8 minutes. In total, they should cook for around 15 minutes. They are ready when you can see them beginning to release their juice and the outside is charred.

5. Remove them carefully, so that you don’t burn yourself, and wrap them in newspaper. 

6. Leave them to rest for half an hour so they can finish cooking in their own heat. In the meanwhile, continue to cook the remaining calçots. 

7. Serve them with a romesco sauce or a traditional sauce called salvitxada. To eat them, hold the stem with one hand, and with the other hand, pull down to extract the clean calçot.  Enjoy!

How to cook calçots in the oven

Traditional calçotadas tend to be reserved for weekends or bank holidays, but you can also prepare calçots in the oven at home any time. 

1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees.

2. Clean the calçots, remove the first layer and trim the green stems and the roots. 

3. Spread out the calçots on an oven tray and bake them for 15 minutes.

4. Remove them from the oven and wrap them in newspaper. Leave them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.