Escalivada (with salt cod)
Escalivar means ‘to roast in the embers’ in Catalan, which explains what they mean by escalivada – a dish of smoky grilled vegetables. It’s a simple and rustic dish that can be eaten along with other tapas dishes or simple with a piece of grilled fish. You can add salt cod to it and it can be eaten on its own. Beautifully colourful, it’s a lovely way to liven up your plate and palate, and it’s a great way to eat a lot of vegetables in one go!
2 medium aubergines
2 Spanish red onions
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow pepper
3 large ripe tomatoes
¼ cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 cloves garlic
2 lemons zested
1 tablespoon of capers
1 bunch of basil or flat leaf parsley torn of roughly chopped
salt and black pepper to taste
200g of salt cod, soaked overnight and drained (optional)
– If you’re adding salt cod, then place the salt cod in a pan, cover with milk and poach gently for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Remove any skin and bones and set to one side.
– Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Take all the vegetables and brush them with a thin film of olive oil.
– Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 20 seconds and then place into chilled water to cool down. Now peel the skin off the tomatoes, de seed and cut into length way petals. Set to one side.
– Place them in a baking tray or in a terracotta casserole, and roast the vegetables for 40 minutes. Remove the aubergine and pepper and set aside. Leave the onion in the oven for another 15 minutes until it too is soft. Remove and set aside.
– By now the skins of the vegetables will be soft and loose. When cool enough to handle, peel the skins off the vegetables. Seed the pepper and remove the top. Remove the top of the tomato and the aubergine with a knife.
– Using your hands, tear the pepper into strips and the tomato into three or four pieces. Do the same to the aubergine. This is all strangely satisfying! With a knife, slice the onion into rings. Mix the vegetables together and place them in a serving dish. Cover them with the ¼ cup olive oil, minced garlic, capers, lemon zest and sherry vinegar. Mix in the chopped herbs.
If you’re adding salt cod, flake it and scatter over the vegetables, sprinkle sparingly with salt and pepper and serve.