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Recipes from José Pizarro’s new cookbook Catalonia



I think this dish, habas a la brutesca, is a winner. It’s baby broad beans cooked on hot coals until blackened. Then the beans are simply popped from their pods to make the salad. Here I’m using jamón, but you could use your favourite cheese for a vegetarian version. Why not make both? 1kg baby broad beans in their pods 125g jamón, torn 2 tablespoons shredded mint good squeeze of lemon juice extra virgin olive oil to drizzle Heat a barbecue with lots of charcoal. You will need a long length of thin wire, or you could use metal skewers. Thread the bean pods onto the wire, curling the wire around into a spiral. Put the spiral of beans into the hot coals and cook until they are blackened.

Cool the beans a little then pop them out of their pods into a bowl. Mix with the jamón, mint, some lemon juice and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.


Priorat is the most beautiful area, and after a visit to Cellers de Scala Dei winery, we went for lunch at an amazing place – a small restaurant called El Rebost de la Cartoixa.

I love this kind of restaurant – the welcome when you arrive, the retro look, paper tablecloths and, most importantly, the incredible smell of cooking. I love too that the whole family is involved, with the mother in the kitchen, the father on the floor and daughters helping them at the weekend.

I had escalivada, which was just wonderful, with a smoky aroma and flavours coming from the charcoal, which is where the name originates from. Escalivada is traditionally made with eggplants and red capsicums; some say onions as well. El Rebost de la Cartoixa serve it with potatoes, onions, artichokes and asparagus, all cooked on the grill. Maybe not very traditional, but still, delicious! 2 red capsicums 2 medium potatoes 1 onion, left whole with skin on 2 eggplants 1 bulb garlic, cloves separated 4 ripe tomatoes olive oil 2 globe artichokes extra virgin olive oil to drizzle juice of 1 lemon Heat the grill as high as it will go and blacken the capsicums under it. Then pop them into a plastic bag to steam and loosen the skins.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wrap the potatoes and onion in foil and put them in the oven to steam and cook for about 45-60 minutes, depending on size.

Make a slit down each eggplant and stuff with a few garlic cloves. Put them in a roasting tin with the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and cook for 1 hour, removing the tomatoes after 30 minutes.

Cook the artichokes in a steamer for 20-30 minutes until they are really tender.

Remove the skins from the capsicums then halve them, remove the seeds and cut into strips. Peel the onion and cut into quarters.

Thickly slice the potatoes. Allow the e to cool a little, then peel and cut into strips.

Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins. Arrange all the cooked vegetables and garlic on a platter, season with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with lots of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Sunday is vermut – vermouth – day in Catalonia, and people typically have a can or tin of seafood or fish with their drinks. These might be cockles, sardines or of course mejillones en

escabeche, which they serve in their own tins with a big plate of crisps. Here is my recipe for mejillones en escabeche, which is easy, yummy and ideal for every day of the week. 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 small carrot, finely sliced 1 celery stalks, finely sliced 1 teaspoon pimenton (paprika) 1 garlic clove, finely sliced 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme 1 fresh bay leaf 75ml vermouth vinegar* 200ml white wine 150ml fresh shellfish stock sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1kg fresh mussels, cleaned Heat the oil in a pan and add the vegetables. Cook for 15 minutes until very tender then add the pimenton, garlic and herbs and cook for a minute or two more. Add the vinegar and bubble for a minute before adding the wine and stock.

Season well, cover and cook gently for 40 minutes. At this point you can set it aside until you are ready to cook the mussels – the flavour will intensify if left to rest for a few hours.

When ready to serve, reheat the escabeche. Put a large pan on a high heat. When really hot, add the mussels and a splash of water, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes until they are just opened and cooked (discard any mussels that stay shut). Tip into a large bowl, spoon over the escabeche and serve. *Vermouth vinegar is available at





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