Super Bowl Calcotada, Canary Island Wines

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                       February 3, 2012 

  calcotadaA couple of years ago we came upon a calçotada, which is a winter festival of the Catalan scallion called “calçot”. Calçots are large onions which have not been harvested in the first year; they are left in the ground and then sprout the following season. In the 1800’s, a farmer in the town of Valls began cultivating them in a method called calçar, (in Catalan, meaning “put your shoes on”). The sprouts are covered with earth so that they remain white, similiar to the method of growing white asparagus and harvested November through April.

To me, the traditional method of cooking calçots over a flaming barbeque seems just perfect for a Super Bowl party. Especially if you’re also grilling chicken wings, which would be an excellent accompaniment. Here, instead of calçots you’ll need to use large green onions unless you know a farmer who has some sprouted onions coming up. To cook, grill the onions on the hot barbeque, turning so that each side gets blackened, until the inside becomes soft. Keep them warm by wrapping in newspaper and serve immediately. The blackened outer leaves are pulled away and the soft center is dipped in Romesco Sauce before eating. We stock Romesco Sauce in jars, or you can make it fresh (see recipe below). Romesco Sauce is also delicious with chicken wings.     

It’s essential to wear a bib, as spills are frequent and part of the fun.   And as long as you have a bib on, why not drink your wine from a porron? We’ve got three sizes of porrons in stock.

Grilled lamb meat, Portuguese Linguiça or Spanish pork sausages are also wonderful with calçots.  

ONE HOUR PARKING VALIDATION:   Park in the Public Market Parking Garage at 1531 Western Avenue and receive one hour free parking validation when you spend a minimum of $35.00 at The Spanish Table.

CD sale!   Buy three and receive the least expensive one free!


The New York Times has scored with two recent articles about wines from the Canary Islands and Portugal. A February 1 piece featured Portuguese wines in an article titled “One Sip Says Portugal“. Focused on the table wines of the Douro region, it compared wines from a range of prices and included some of our favorites which we’ve been recommending for some time! These wines are in stock now:

Best Value 2008 Paestra ($9.99) “Structured, intriguingly complex with straightforward herbal and fruit flavors.”

2009 Quinta do Crasto Douro Reserva Vinhas Velhas ($40.00).   Quinta do Crasto Reservas are consistently one of my favorite Douro wines.   The 2009 is “plummy, earthy and a touch oaky.” The Wine Advocate rates this wine 93 points and says ” Powerful, focused and intense, this is ripe and delicious, but it has the structure to support the fruit and oak and some pretty good acidity. If you like them sexy, sweet and rich, this qualifies. If you like them elegant in the mid-palate and structured, it does that, too.”

2008 Dow’s Douro Vale do Bomfin ($10.99) “Rough yet juicy with flavors of red fruit and flowers.”

We’ve got the 2004 vintage of Lavradores de Feitoria, ($14.99 – the article reviewed the 2009 vintage). The 2004 garnered an 89 point score from Wine Spectator with the following comments: ” A rich red, with vibrant acidity and concentrated flavors of red cherry, dark plum and raspberry. Supple, creamy finish is filled with delicious spicy notes.”   Great value! 

Click on “Grapes Born of Volcano and Sea”(New York Times, January 18) to see pictures of beautiful Lanzarote and explore the exotic wines of Spain’s Canary Islands.   Because phylloxera never made it to the Canaries, vines are planted on their own roots, a rare situation in today’s world of grafted vines.   In addition many indigenous varietals not grown elsewhere are found in the Canary Islands.   We’ve got brought in five wines from this region, and two of them are reviewed in the article.

2008 Monje Tinto Tradicional ($21.99) was the second choice of the tasting panel and is “Beautifully balanced though tannic, with flavors of wild berries and herbs.”

2010 Tajinaste Tenerife Tinto Tradicional ($21.99) “Juicy and perfumed with aromas of flowers and purple fruits.”

We’ve also got a white wine from the Canaries.  2009 Viña Zanata Listan Blanco ($16.99)  Fruity and dry with herbal notes, this is an excellent match for paella. 



Romesco is a Catalan sauce of tomatoes, red ñora peppers, garlic, vinegar and

hazelnuts or almonds with stale bread as a thickener. It is one of those sauces of infinite

variation with every cook having different proportions and variations on the ingredients.

4-5 Ñora peppers, re-hydrated with boiling water

(if not available, use 4 tablespoon sweet pimentón)

1 Small, hot, red guindilla pepper (cayena) pepper (optional)

2 tablespoon Olive oil for frying

1 slice (½ cup) Stale Bread

1 clove Garlic, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon Coarse sea salt

¼ cup Almonds (preferably marcona) and/or hazelnuts and/or pine nuts.

In a pinch, walnuts can even be used.

1 Tomato (optional). Peeled and seeded.  (Roasting the tomato adds depth).

1 sprig Parsley (optional)

1 tablespoon Red Wine vinegar or sherry vinegar (optional)

4 tablespoon Reserved liquid from ñoras

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (if needed)

Cover ñoras with water and bring to a boil. Allow to steep for half an hour.

Reserving the liquid, remove stems and seeds saving flesh and skin.

Fry nuts in olive oil until brown, remove with slotted spoon.

Fry bread in olive oil adding more if needed.

Put garlic and salt in a mortar and blend together with a pestle or put them in food

processor and give it a couple of bursts.

If making a spicy version, add the hot pepper

Add cooled nuts with bread and grind.

Add ñora and blend in.

If using tomato, blend it in now.

If using parsley, add it now.

Season with a splash of vinegar. If serving with vegetables, go a little heavier on the

vinegar. If using with fish, use a lighter hand or omit.

If too thick, add a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

As with all sauces, running this sauce through a food mill gives a smoother, more

sophisticated product. 


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