The humble Calcots came into existence, when a Spanish farmer cultivated conventional green onions in a slightly unconventional manner. This event supposedly happened somewhere at the junction of the nineteenth and twentieth century. This little vegetable has now gained rapid popularity all over the world and is a subject of major culinary interest. In fact, it has become an integral part of the culture of its native country as they are being used in their very own family recipes.
Some mouthwatering facts about Calcots:
Method of cultivation: Farmers begin with them just like they begin with the ordinary scallions; they dig trenches in the ground and bury the bulbs inside. But this is very the similarity comes to an end.
The stalks are covered with soil, but some part of it is left exposed. As the plant grows and develops, more soil is added, but some part is always allowed to remain above ground. In fact, these scallions get their name from their method of cultivation.
After some time, the plants are carefully uprooted in stored for a few months. During this period, they remain untouched and undisturbed. Then, when the winter season arrives, they are taken out of storage and buried inside the ground once again.
This time, they are buried completely and left like that until they are fully matured. After this, they are harvested normally.
This entire process takes nearly a year to completely, because it spans nearly two seasons. Also, it takes a lot of skill to cultivate them. The farmer should know exactly how much portion of the plant has to be left exposed, how frequently and when he is supposed to add soil. He should uproot them at the right time, store them properly and then replant and harvest them in the correct manner. This is truly an art.
Method of cooking and consumption: Conventional onions are generally eaten as part of salad, or they are used in soups and other dishes. These little variants, on the other hand, are consumed by themselves, as separate entities altogether.
These are carefully grilled on barbecue units. They are gently cooked to just the right temperature which will char the outermost layer and bring out the flavours of the inner core. At the end of this period, the stalks are gently wrapped in papers and allowed to stay put for fifteen to twenty minutes. Then, they are removed from the wrapping. The blackened coat is peeled off. The delicious core is enjoyed along with sauces and red wine.
Cooking these is as complicated as cultivating them. You can easily burn them if you are not careful. Too little heat will bring out the taste that you are looking for. The inner core should be cooked to achieve a tender, soft cheese-like consistency.
Calcots are so popular that there is an entire food festival dedicated to them. In this only these onions are consumed in bulk, and no other dishes are served. This is held biannually and is very popular internationally.