The Catalan verb escalivar means to cook in hot ashes (caliu), and escalivada, an assortment of roasted vegetables, is traditionally made exactly that way.
Yield: serves 8
- 8 Japanese eggplants
- 4 red bell peppers
- 4 small yellow onions
- 1-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- Put eggplants, bell peppers, and onions directly onto hot coals or wood embers—lightly covered with gray ash and glowing—in a barbecue or fireplace, turning vegetables frequently with tongs, until they have blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, put the vegetables on a grill set over a very hot bed of charcoal and grill, turning frequently with tongs, until they have blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes; or rub vegetables with 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, put them on a shallow roasting pan, and roast in a preheated 500° oven, turning them occasionally; cook eggplants until soft, about 20 minutes; cook peppers until their skins are blistered and charred and onions until soft, about 50 minutes. Transfer each type of vegetable to its own medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to let cool for 10–15 minutes. Trim and peel eggplants and tear them into long, thin strips; stem, seed, and peel peppers and tear them into long, thin strips; and peel, trim, and thinly slice onions. Divide vegetables between 8 plates. Mince garlic cloves, then scatter over vegetables. Drizzle each serving with about 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and season to taste with salt.