Escalivada is a Spanish grilled vegetable appetizer recipe that is easy to make and big on flavor.
Escalivada (pronounced ES-keli-VA-da) comes from Catalonia, the northwestern most region in Spain. In a way, the Catalan region could be considered the beautiful child of the cultures of South France and Spain. Both French and Spanish influences are apparent in the Catalan culture, but they have also been transformed into something entirely new and unique.
France Meets Spain
Even in this simple vegetable dish, you can see hints of the French and Spanish influence in the region.
Escalivada is made up of grilled (or oven roasted) vegetables that are combined with olive oil, salt, and (in some cases) a little sherry vinegar. The caramelized quality of the roasted vegetables and they texture of the dish might make you think of the classic, Provencal dish ratatouille.
The use of red peppers and a splash of vinegar gives the dish a slight acidic brightness that brings to mind light Spanish dishes. The dish is easy to prepare and made to be enjoyed with a crisp glass of wine and friends. It reminded us of wandering through the streets of Barcelona around tapas time and watching groups of friends gather with small plates and beverages, simply enjoying the company and the afternoon.
To Grill Or Not To Grill?
If you can, grill your vegetables for escalivada. The smoky flavor that the grill imparts takes the flavors to a whole new level. But, if grilling just isn’t possible, the oven will do a good job to caramelize the sugars and a quick stint under the broiler will even give a bit of that grill-charred flavor.
How To Serve?
Escalivada is traditionally served as an appetizer with thick slices of crisp toast. We loved the complementary textures of the crisp toast and the smooth vegetables. It is also common for escalivada to be served as a side dish to go along with the grilled meats or fish.
Either way you serve it, be sure it is accompanied by a nice semi-dry white or rosé wine!
In Our Glass
We paired our escalivada with a Château de Campuget Rosé from Costières de Nîmes in the Southern Rhône Valley of France. As recent as the early 2000’s, Costières de Nîmes was considered a part of the eastern Languedoc region, but the grapes and wine making style of the region were more similar to what one would find in Rhône.
We found this blend of 30% Grenache and 70% Syrah to be bright and citrus-y on the nose. We were pleasantly surprised by the wine’s dryness which was rounded out by tart raspberry and grapefruit flavors. It was a nice and light, semi-dry wine, perfect for spring or summer sipping.
The bright, fresh red peppers of the escalivada mingled with the acidity of the wine and brought out the wine’s berry notes. The oil in the escalivada smoothed out the wine’s dryness, creating a wonderful complement. This would be the perfect pairing for a lazy spring or summer day spent enjoying appetizers and wine with friends on the patio.
France’s Southern Rhône Valley
This month, the Wine Pairing Weekend Crew is exploring the wines of the South Rhône. The Rhône River Valley is in Southern France and the wines produced there are commonly divided between the northern and southern regions of the Rhône Valley.
Being farther inland, the northern region sees more of a temperature shift with the seasons, making it generally cooler than the southern region. Because of this, different grapes are grown between the north and the south. The north is known for wines produced with the Syrah and Voignier grape. The south is more Mediterranean in climate, with warmer temperatures year round. It is known for its many red blends which tend to include Grenach, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes.
Be sure to take a look at the other South Rhône wines and dishes the crew explored after the recipe!
This Spanish grilled vegetable appetizer is easy to make and big on flavor.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 medium eggplant, with shiny, firm and taut skin
- 1 onion, large, with dry outer skin removed
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
- ½ tsp salt (divided)
- Splash sherry vinegar (optional)
- Crusty bread (for serving)
- Preheat your grill to a medium heat or your oven to 375F.
- Rub the clean and dry vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt. Roast them either on the grill or in a baking dish in the oven for 25-30 minutes on the first side, or until the first side starts to get a char. Turn them and continue to cook them until the second side begins to blacken, another 15-25 minutes. (Depending on the heat of your grill, these times may vary.) Chances are, your peppers will be done before the onion and eggplant. If this is the case, remove them from the heat and place them on a plate. If using the oven, if after the vegetables are soft, they are not yet charred, turn on the broiler to give them a bit of color. (But watch them closely, the broiler works FAST!)
- Once the vegetables are soft and the skins are toasted, remove them from the heat and place them in a bowl. Cover them with a kitchen towel and set them aside to cool, 10-15 min.
- Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off of the eggplant and peppers and remove the seeds. Tear or slice the vegetables into strips.
- Place the sliced vegetables into a serving bowl or platter. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and the salt. Finish with a splash of sherry vinegar, if desired.
- Serve with bread as an appetizer or as a side dish to meat or fish.
Find more great pairings for the wines of the South Rhône region below!
- Jeff from Food Wine Click: Rabbit and Rhône
- Nancy from Pull That Cork: Scallops, Spring Veggies + a White CDP for #winePW
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Braised Boar Shanks With Bitter Herb Salad + Vacqueyras Beaumirail
- David from Cooking Chat: Kale Pesto Tilapia with Wine from Southern Rhône
- Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog: A Tavel Paired with Spring BBQ #WinePW
- Meaghan from Un Assaggio: Grilled Rack of Lamb + Arnoux & Fils Vieux Clocher #winePW
- Cindy from Grape Experiences:Wine and Dine: Rosé from Costières de Nîmes and Rack of Lamb with Rosemary
- Sarah and Tim from Curious Cuisiniere: Escalivada (Spanish Roasted Vegetables) paired with South Rhône Rosé
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm: Wine Pairing Weekend Celebrates Spring
- Michelle from Rockin Red Blog: Springtime in Southern Rhône with #WinePW
- Kristen from The Armchair Sommelier: The High Crime ofMushroom Substitution
- Jill of L’Occasion: Welcome Spring with Fresh Food & Le Ferme Du Mont Côtes du Rhône
David of Cooking Chat started this event in June of 2014, and every month since then this group of wine and food lovers have had a great time! For more background, check out the original post announcing Wine Pairing Weekend. You can see the full list of past and upcoming #winePW events here.