This salad is a work of art and like all great art, he said pompously, it utterly transcends its
It is also simplicity itself. It is an ancient Catalan recipe and very versatile. I prepare it
here as an accompaniment to the beef but it can also be served on its own as a salad course,
it is sublime on toast with Escala anchovies as a canapé or starter and I have even heard of
it served with foie gras which I think sounds frankly bizarre.
There are additions people make to it, garlic, tomato, courgette etc all of which is nice but
entirely unnecessary. It does in fact distract one from what is a perfect dish. It needs no
adornment nor chefs attempts to raise it. Follow the recipe.
It is said that the Catalan flag, La Senyera came in to being in the 9th Century when
Wilfred the Shaggy and his old chum Charles the Bald where having a lovely battle against
the Moors. At the point of victory the Hairy One drew his blood drenched fingers across the
golden shield of The Bald One creating four red bars on a background of yellow. It is my
private belief that Escalivada emulates this flag and I alway bear it in mind when laying out
As I say, this is a perfect dish. This is not my recipe, it is THE recipe. Do not veer from it.
2 large red peppers
2 large aubergines
As you are cooking the beef surround it with the whole untouched aubergines and
whole untouched peppers. If there isn't enough room on the grill for this then do it
after the beef. Or before it, It doesn't matter.
Char the peppers and aubergines on all sides until the aubergine has inflated and
then collapsed and the pepper blackened and collapsed.
For this to work you must not balk at the seeming burntness of the vegetables. The
flesh of the peppers not only has to blacken to allow peeling but the flesh must also
be cooked. Keep it on the grill until it has completely collapsed and the flesh
underneath is soft.
The same goes for the aubergines. An un or undercooked aubergine is a revolting
aubergine and if you are ever presented with one throw it at the chef, host, hostess,
whoever. It is not to be tolerated
keep cooking the aubergine until it is completely collapsed and its flesh softened.
STRIP AND LAY DOWN
Once the peppers are peeled and deseeded and the aubergines peeled pull them into
strips and lay them on the plate in strips. Season them with salt and finish with
olive oil. Now stand back and admire what you have done. The chances are, if you
have followed the recipe correctly, you will hear the heavenly choirs announcing to
God that LUNCH IS READY!!