Calçots are one of the most celebrated dishes of Catalan cuisine, and are traditionally eaten from April to November, although the season can begin as early as February, depending on the harvest.
The calçot is a long, white onion, very sweet and tender, which is served with Romesco sauce, a Catalan sauce made from tomatoes, red peppers, garlic and olive oil. The dish should be cooked and served according to a strict ritual: the onions have to be grilled till charred on the outside and cooked inside till they are tender (the secret is to feel the end of the calçot to make sure it is soft). Tradition dictates that the calçots are followed by a dish of botifarra (Catalan sausages) and other meat cooked over the same grill where the calçots have been cooked, accompanied by more Romesco sauce and grilled artichokes.
The dish originates from the city of Valls (Tarragona), where it used to be mainly eaten in the country houses, but today it can be enjoyed in the thousands of restaurants all over Catalonia. It is a dish which has evolved over the years, and many restaurants today offer the chance to enjoy it by inventing new recipes with a modern twist.