When a native English speaker hears terms like seafood and fish, he or she usually conjures up images of a fish and chips stand on the corner. We have become so used to beer-battered, deep-fried, and tartar sauce soaked seafood that it is the norm for most of us to think about heart disease being a part of any pescatarian dish.
If you want to get a glimpse and see how seafood is meant to be prepared and enjoyed, taking a trip to Spain is the most effective method. You won't find any Red Lobster, Long John Silvers, or Captain D's locations in this Mediterranean country because fast food is generally frowned upon. You will however find a traditional atmosphere of people actually enjoying freshly prepared seafood dishes in fine and casual dining establishments.
Because of their unique proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Spain has been gifted with some of the best seafood variety in the entire world. Whether you are staying across the way at Club Méditerranée or discovering the country Don Quixote style, here are some of the best seafood dishes Spain has to offer:
What started as the city of Valencia's signature dish, this blend of delicate ingredients has become a staple in Latin America and is starting to gain positive reception around the world. Paella starts off with a broth made from shrimp heads, garlic, and bay leaves. Rice is added as a base and then comes an array of shrimp, cuttlefish, lobster, and mussels. After that, the dish is topped off with one of the rarest and most fragrant herbs on earth, saffron.
When thinking about canned seafood, it is easy to limit your purchasing decisions to tuna. The Spanish have been known to take great pride in preparing, preserving, and canning their seafood for many years now. As seen on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, Spanish know what they are doing when it comes to canning their fish.
Instead of being limited to traditionally salty and fatty fare, Spanish canned seafood is a little more expensive but consists of delicacies like mussels, scallops, baby eels, and octopus. Those who would never eat a sardine or anchovy should try them the Spanish way to get the authentic texture and flavor from the commonly derided food.
Perhaps best known to English speaking people as Calamari, this entry is the closet to fish and chips you will be able to order in Spain. This is a simple, yet delicious piece of culinary ingenuity which takes thinly slivered pieces of squid in a light batter, flash fries them, and serves it up with red sauce and a squirt of lemon. While not enough to serve as an entree, it can certainly warm up an appetite for what is up ahead.
Suquet is a seafood stew which gained traction through the Catalan regions of the country. Most common recipes call for clams and other shellfish to be prepared in a combination of garlic and olive oil while a seafood stock is prepared along with almonds, tomatoes, parsley, and other non shellfish. The kicker to this dish is the addition of a Spanish sparkling white wine called Cava, which gives the dish a light fizz.
English misconceptions about the different ways seafood can be prepared are easily shattered by the Spanish culinary creations. Living a healthier and more active life is possible because of such things like fresh produce and healthy fish fats that the Spanish rely on for most of their diet. Even if you enjoy the usual preparation of seafood, make sure to get a different perspective when in Spain.