Escalivada, a roasted vegetable dish is typical from the regions of Cataluna and Aragon. Its' name comes from a verb in Catalan meaning "to roast in the embers."
It is a simple dish, with rural origins, made from roasted tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and onions. Typically served warm or room temperature with crusty bread, or to accompany meat or fish in warmer months, it is suitable to eat your-round. It is best to prepare and eat the escalivada the same day.
- Heat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil. If a large pan is not available, use two smaller pans, or cookie sheets.
- Rinse the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, and brush the cut side with olive oil and place cut side down in the pan. Make small slits in the skin of the eggplants so that they don't split open as they cook.
- Peel the onions, then place the peppers, onions and head of garlic in the roasting pan. Brush all vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast in oven on middle rack for about 1 hour, turning vegetables over every 30 minutes or so. After 1 hour, add tomatoes to the pan and continue roasting until vegetables are cooked - for another 20 to 30 minutes.
- If any vegetables, particularly peppers are thoroughly cooked, while others need more time, remove from pan and continue roasting the rest.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then, carefully remove the skin from peppers and eggplant. Cut roasted vegetables into strips and place them on a platter or tray with anchovy fillets. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Escalivada is typically served room temperature with plenty of slices of bread. Many cooks like to place the vegetables on a platter to create a colorful arrangement. If serving the escalivada by itself, why not arrange the vegetables on slices of bread for your guests?
The following are variations on this traditional Catalan dish:
- Potatoes. Some cooks like to roast four whole potatoes in their skins. First, scrub the potatoes thoroughly with a brush. Roast in their skins. Then, after roasting cut them in half, scoop out the potato, mix with salt and olive oil, and return the potato to their skins.
- Green Onions. Use two bunches of tender green onions instead of yellow onions. Wash thoroughly and trim the roots and the tops of the green portion. Roast with the vegetables, removing before they dry out.
- Vinegar. Add a splash of vinegar to the platter before serving.