The Delicious Recipe of Salsa Calçots: A Catalan Delicacy

When it comes to traditional Catalan cuisine, one cannot overlook the mouthwatering salsa calçots. This delectable sauce is an essential accompaniment to the famous calçots, a type of green onion that is grilled to perfection. In this article, we will explore the origins of salsa calçots, its ingredients, and the step-by-step process of making this delightful Catalan delicacy.

The Origins of Salsa Calçots

Salsa calçots, also known as romesco sauce, has its roots in the region of Catalonia, located in northeastern Spain. The sauce was originally created to accompany the traditional calçotada, a festive meal centered around the calçots. Calçots are a type of green onion that are harvested in the winter months and are typically grilled over an open flame until they become tender and slightly charred.

The origins of salsa calçots can be traced back to the late 19th century, when it was first mentioned in a cookbook by the renowned Catalan chef Ignasi Domènech. Since then, the sauce has become an integral part of Catalan cuisine and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

The Ingredients of Salsa Calçots

Salsa calçots is a flavorful combination of ingredients that come together to create a unique and delicious sauce. The traditional recipe includes the following ingredients:

  • Almonds: Almonds are a key ingredient in salsa calçots, providing a rich and nutty flavor to the sauce. They are typically toasted before being incorporated into the recipe.
  • Tomatoes: Ripe tomatoes add a tangy and slightly sweet taste to the sauce. They are usually roasted or grilled to enhance their flavor.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent and aromatic element to the sauce. It is often roasted or sautéed before being blended with the other ingredients.
  • Red Bell Peppers: Red bell peppers contribute a vibrant color and a subtle sweetness to the salsa calçots. They are usually roasted to bring out their natural flavors.
  • Olive Oil: High-quality olive oil is a staple in Catalan cuisine and is used generously in salsa calçots. It adds richness and helps bind the ingredients together.
  • Vinegar: A splash of vinegar, typically red wine vinegar, provides a tangy and acidic note to balance the flavors of the sauce.
  • Bread: Stale bread is often used to thicken the sauce and give it a creamy texture. It also adds a subtle earthiness to the overall taste.
  • Spices: Various spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt are added to enhance the flavors of the sauce.

The Step-by-Step Process of Making Salsa Calçots

Now that we have explored the ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making salsa calçots:

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Gather all the necessary ingredients and prepare them as follows:

  • Toast the almonds in a dry pan until they turn golden brown. Allow them to cool before using.
  • Roast or grill the tomatoes, garlic, and red bell peppers until they are soft and slightly charred.
  • Remove the skins and seeds from the tomatoes and red bell peppers.
  • Tear the stale bread into small pieces.

Step 2: Blend the Ingredients

In a blender or food processor, combine the toasted almonds, roasted tomatoes, garlic, red bell peppers, and torn bread. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.

Step 3: Add the Olive Oil and Vinegar

While the blender or food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and vinegar. Continue blending until the sauce emulsifies and thickens.

Step 4: Season to Taste

Add the spices, such as paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt, to the sauce. Blend for a few more seconds to incorporate the flavors. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Transfer the salsa calçots to a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of chopped almonds. It is traditionally served alongside grilled calçots, but it can also be enjoyed with other grilled vegetables, meats, or as a dip for bread.


1. Can I make salsa calçots in advance?

Yes, salsa calçots can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. The flavors will continue to develop over time, making it even more delicious.

2. Can I substitute any of the ingredients?

While the traditional recipe calls for specific ingredients, you can certainly experiment and make substitutions based on your preferences. For example, you can use hazelnuts instead of almonds or add a touch of smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.

3. Is salsa calçots spicy?

The level of spiciness in salsa calçots can be adjusted according to your taste. If you prefer a milder sauce, you can reduce or omit the cayenne pepper. Conversely, if you enjoy a spicy kick, you can increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add a pinch of chili flakes.

4. Can I freeze salsa calçots?

While salsa calçots can be frozen, it is best enjoyed fresh. Freezing may alter the texture and affect the overall taste of the sauce. If you have leftovers, it is recommended to store them in the refrigerator and consume within a week.

5. What are some other dishes that pair well with salsa calçots?

Salsa calçots is a versatile sauce that complements a variety of dishes. It pairs exceptionally well with grilled vegetables, such as eggplant and zucchini. It can also be served alongside grilled meats, such as chicken or beef, or used as a dip for crusty bread.


Salsa calçots, a traditional Catalan sauce, is a delightful accompaniment to the grilled calçots. With its rich flavors and creamy texture, it adds a burst of taste to any dish it accompanies. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can recreate this Catalan delicacy in your own kitchen. Whether you are hosting a calçotada or simply looking to explore the flavors of Catalonia, salsa cal

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