Food and Cuisine in the Roussillon Region
In Roussillon, Catalan, Spanish, and Arab influences are very obvious in all aspects of the cuisine. Roussillon dishes often use olive oil, olives, tomatoes and a range of spices. This is the basis for the “healthy” Mediterranean diet plus a regular dose of great red wine!
From the Mediterranean comes a wealth of seafood, especially lobsters, sardines, anchovies and mussels. Roussillon has its own version of Marseille’s bouillabaisse which combines fish, potatoes and pimentos.
From the foothills of the Pyrénées comes the more hearty Catalan dishes with combinations of beef, pork, beans, onions, olives and spices.
The Spanish influence can be sampled in the range of Tapas (Spanish hors d’oeuvre) offered in wine bars throughout the region.
WHEN IN ROUSSILLON DON’T MISS
Ollada (ouillade), country soup primarily made up of pork, vegetables and dry beans.
Bullinada (Bouillinade ), Catalan version of the bouillabaisse of Marseilles, elaborated with all the products of the sea.
Cargoulade, traditionally cooked at Easter, snails grilled on embers of pruned vine shoots, and served with a sauce of bacon, onion, anchovies and sausage.
Boles de Picolat, beef and pork meatballs in a spiced sauce with tomatoes and green olives.
AND AT THE END OF THE MEAL
The Arm of Gipsy, long génoise roll (from Genoa) filled with a delicate aromatised cream, or Bunyetes, small thin fritters scented with the flowers of orange or lemon trees, accompanied by a Sweet aperitif wine.
Boles de picolat
A traditional peasant dish, this Catalan speciality rivals the Languedoc' s Cassoulet. However where the Cassoulet uses goose fat, Boles de Picolat uses olive oil, spices and olives.
Ingredients for 4 people
300 gm beef mince
600 gm sausage meat
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
150 gm bacon chopped
2 onions finely sliced
500 ml water
150 ml tomato puree
150 gm stoned green olives
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch chilli pepper
Mix pork and beef, garlic, parsley, eggs. Add salt, and a little pepper.
Form the balls to the size of a small egg. Roll them in the flour. Put the oil in a broad-bottomed casserole and sauté the bacon. Brown the meatballs in the oil and remove.
To make the sauce, slice the onions finely, add the remaining flour and water and heat. When it comes to the boil, season with salt, pepper, and tomato. Add olives, and the balls. The sauce must cover the balls, add a little water if necessary.
Put casserole in oven at 170 deg. C
Cover, and simmer for 45-60 minutes.
Serve with beans, a sprinkling of parsley and crusty bread.