Braised Onions with Romesco
After eating the Catalonion onions with salbitxada at Toro Bravo, I knew it was something I needed to try at home. Salbitxada (sal-bee-cha-da, sometimes spelled salvitxada), is the Catalonion version of romesco. The pepper and nut sauce is most famously the dip for the roasted onions called calcots. (Watch the Spain version of Bourdain’s No Reservations for more about calcots.) Like most traditional foods, romesco and salbitxada take many forms, some with bread crumbs, some with tomatoes, but the backbone combines peppers, nuts, vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
Here’s my recipe for romesco. Make this before you start the onions, a day or even a few days, in advance. It’s good on almost anything, or just by the spoonful.
The onions are easy. Slice them, cook in extra virgin olive oil for a long time. In this case, “long time” translates to at least 45 minutes, longer if they haven’t caramelized to a deep brown. You want to keep the heat fairly low so they don’t get crispy, keep the pan uncovered so the moisture cooks off, and stir them fairly often. Toss in a little sea salt, too.
Serve the onions warm with a healthy dollop of romesco and a drizzle of your best extra virgin.