In Catalonia, José Pizarro shows how to create some of the best-loved dishes from the Catalonian region at home. Bring the true experience of the little bars of Barcelona into your own kitchen
Catalonia is really beautiful. I have visited so many times over the years and one thing I know for sure is the more I go, the more I love this place and the people.
I have become more and more familiar with the particular diversity and richness of the animals on the land, the stunning produce in the sea, and the wonderful birds in the air.
“I want to share with you some of the region’s gastronomic treasures because they are culinary gems, and food, after all, is all about sharing.”
I have travelled from Roses in Girona, to Balaguer in Lleida, from Vilafranca del Penedès in Barcelona, to Sant Carles de la Ràpita in Tarragona. My trips have been about visiting old friends, as well as meeting new people and making new friends, all of whom gladly opened their homes and their hearts to us.
“Catalonia has a fascinating history that includes political and social struggles to hold on to a unique identity, and a rich culture and heritage.”
I was inspired to learn that often the most challenging times seemed to strengthen their resolve, and make their cultural heritage even more important and more dearly cherished. Catalonia is a place where visitors often describe feeling ‘at home’. It’s a very welcoming place.
I really hope to have captured something of the essential flavours found in the gastronomy of Catalonia; and, when you try some of the recipes, my wish is that you will also share in the enjoyment of dishes that, for me, reflect the heart of both traditional and contemporary Catalan cuisine.
“Something I love is that, in their cooking, the people of Catalonia have never lost their culinary roots – sometimes aspects of recipes or methods stretch as far back as medieval times.”
There are many stunning dishes that bring together dried fruit and meat, a mix of meat and seafood, and the clever use of spices in different ways. In Catalan cuisine, there’s often a healthy nod to history, and this I really love – in the food, we see that the people are so proud of their heritage and cultural identity.
Get a taste with these five Catalan creations…
1 Lobster rice
“This is my lobster rice recipe, with a little help from Ca’l Faiges … the flavour of their lobster is to die for.”
2 Roast monkfish tail with lemon thyme salsa
“This monkfish recipe looks very impressive when you put it on the table. Easy for a party as you don’t need to do much – just enjoy.”
3 Gambas carpaccio
“I’ve had different versions of this recipe in several places – in Atrio in Cáceres and at La Tancada too. At Atrio, they finish it with caviar and at La Tancada with olive oil, cherry tomatoes and local flowers. Both different, both fantastic.”
4 Roast langoustines
“In the UK we have the most amazing langoustines from Scotland; just ask your fishmonger for them. Don’t forget to mop the juices from the tray – the lemon will help to keep the juices and a bit of the acidity.”
5 Sautéed baby squid with broad beans & mint
“I’ve brought a little sweetness to this recipe by adding some caramelised onions. You could also pan-fry some black butifarra and add it in at the end.”
All recipes courtesy of José Pizarro, extracted from Catalonia