I love Spain. In fact, I love it so much that I’ve been there four times. During my sophomore year of college I studied abroad for nearly six months in the fantastic city of Barcelona, the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia. (Spain is broken up into 17 autonomous communities, each of which have their own unique characteristics and some even have their own distinct language.)
While as a whole, Spanish food is not nearly as revered as French or Italian food, Catalan food is considered some of the best the Mediterranean region has to offer. It’s abundant in vegetables, rice dishes, beans, interesting tomato sauces, and nuts. Escalivada is a traditional Catalan dish that consists of roasted vegetables and lots of olive oil. In my recipe, I omit the olive oil and let the richness of the vegetables shine through. When roasted, the red onions and bell peppers become gloriously sweet, the tomatoes become slightly tart, and the eggplant becomes smoky. This is a great dish to have in your fridge because it just goes with everything. It’s delicious on it’s own as a salad, served along side rice or quinoa, or try blending it just a touch and then spread it on toasted bread.
Bon profit! (Catalan) Buen provecho! (Spanish)
1 large eggplant
1 medium red onion
2 medium tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1-2 tablespoons parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prick the eggplant with a fork and then place it, along with the onion, pepper and tomatoes on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet and put into the oven.
3. Remove the eggplant, tomatoes and peppers after 45 minutes and remove the onion after 60-75 minutes. (Make sure the eggplant is soft. If it still feels tough, keep cooking it and remove when you remove the onion.)
4. To make the dressing, combine the garlic, Sherry vinegar, lemon juice and water. Add seasonings to taste.
5. Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle: Cut the eggplant into half-inch cubes. Peel and seed the peppers and cut them into wide strips. Peel and core the tomatoes and tear each into 4-5 pieces. Peel and remove the top and tail of the onion, then halve it lengthwise and cut it into half-inch strips.
6. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the dressing. When ready to serve, top with 1-2 tablespoons of parsley. Enjoy at room temperature or cold.