Fruits of the sea are a-plenty in Chipiona and Sanlucar. From the smallest boquerones to huge salmons! Many kinds of fish and shellfish are sold in the market, and some of them are really strange to me. And that is rare coming from a daughter of a fisherman like myself! And what good is, they are not expensive at all! Reason enough to indulge ourselves for a week of seafood tripping! We tried to cook and taste some of the town’s special offer of sea products. Have a feast!
These crustaceans look like langostinos and lobsters. They are caught in the sea or in the fishing corrals in the town’s beaches. The price per kilo ranges from 5.00 to 10.00 euros, depending on where they are caught. Those caught from the fishing corrals are more expensive. We never had it before, so we decided it was time to give it a try. We bought half a kilo from Fresh ‘N Carry, a new supermarket in Chipiona. I asked the fish vendor for the “modo de preparacion”. He enthusiastically explained it to me. The vegetable vendor however heard him and contradicted his instructions regarding the use of water. Then the bread vendor also joined the discussion. What happened next was a heated discussion on how to prepare the galeras. Finally, I told them I try all those instructions and decide what I think is the best.
Preparation : After washing the galeras, put them in a big pan, add a little bit of water or white wine and salt. Let it boil for 5 minutes. As simple as that. To remove the shell easier, firt cut the sharp edges of the galeras with a pair of scissors. Then eat them the way you eat shrimps! They are delicious!!!!
2. TORTILLAS DE CAMARONES
Tortillas de camarones are crispy shrimp fritters that are popular as tapa in Andalucian region. The original recipe is said to come from Sanlucar and Chipiona. I have tasted these tapas thrice : first time was in Taberna Cabildo in Sanlucar; the second time was when I made them myself; and the third time was in casa Ricardo in Chipiona. And I would say that the best was in Casa Ricardo. They were a lot crispier and tastier in this restaurant. They were really good up to the last crumble.
Tip : use sparkling water in making the batter to create small holes when frying. Also the use of special flour is recommended for extra taste : the harina de garbanzos or chickpea flour.
3. ALMEJAS ALA MARINERA
Almejas is Spanish word for clams. Just like the galeras, they are also often seen for sale in the wet market. The friendly fishvendor where I bought my almejas shared me the recipe for Almejas ala Marinera, which she learned from her mother.
Preparation : Heat a small amount of oil in the pan, put one minced garlic, fry until brown, add the bayleaf and 1 teaspoon of flour. Then add the almejas (first soaked for at least an hour in water). Stir occasionally until the clams open. Perfect with French bread which you can dip in the sauce from the almejas, and a glass of wine. Super good!
4. MEJILLONES ALA MARINERA
Mejillones is Spanish word for mussels. Back in Holland, Hans and I were already crazy about mussels. We used to eat them for dinner together with French fries and fresh salad. But in Spain, we ate it for lunch, together with a glass of wine or sangria (from Don Simon) and pan rustica. The mussels in Chipiona and Sanlucar are a lot bigger and meatier than in Holland. We always buy the mejillones gordo. They are a bit more expensive, but the meat is bigger and tastier. The easiest way of preparing these shellfish is to put it in a big deep pan with just small amount of water, wine or beer and salt. Let it boil, shaking the pan once in a while, and wait until they open.
5. BOQUERONES FRITOS
Boquerones fritos are fried anchovies. Again, this is also one of the popular tapas in Spain. I’ve always loved these small fishes even back in the Philippines. I could say that I’ve grown knowing these fishes. I remember we used to help our grandmothers in drying them on top of the seawall, and we received a small amount of money for helping, which we then saved for buying school supplies. I can prepare these little fishes in many ways : dried, fried, “kilawin (marinated in vinegar, ginger, pepper and onion), “pinangat”(cooked in very small amount of water with a bit of salt or sometimes wrapped in banana leaf), and spicy fried anchovies. Whatever way, I love them all! Another one method I learned in Spain is boquerones fritos where the anchovies are first dipped in scrambled egg, then rolled in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Afterwards, the boquerones are deep-fried in aceite de girasol (sunflower oil).
6. SALPICON DE MARISCO
Salpicon is a term used to refer to a combination of ingredients mixed in a kind of salad. Thus Salpicon de Marisco simply means Seafood salad. The salad consists of various boiled seafood such as mussels, octopus, shrimps, white fish, surimi sticks and squids. Bell pepper, silver onions and green and black olives are often added to the salad for extra taste. For the dressing, a simple vignairette of vinegar and olive oil seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika powder is enough. You can also use cocktail sauce. This salad is really top! Good as starter.
7. TRUCHA ALA PLANCHA
We were lucky to buy very good trucha or trouts in the supermarket for a very low price. We prepared them ala plancha by first seasoning it with salt and pepper and wrapping them in aluminum foil before putting then on the barbecue (from the neigbors). In this way, the juice of the fish stays in the foil. The fish was really great; the meat had a beautiful rose color, and the taste was really good.
8. SARDINAS FRITOS
Sardinas or sardines are also abundant in Chipiona. This fish is also often included in the menu card of almost all fish restaurants in town. Because we didn’t have a decent barbeque set to have sardinas ala plancha, we just had our sardines fried. The taste was even good, I think!
Aioli is a typical Spanish dipsauce made of garlic, pinch of salt, a drop of lemon juice, eggyolk and olive oil. At first, I was not a big fan of this sauce, as I had the chance to taste it back in Holland and it was not good. But our camper neighbour and good friend Jeanne (www.whitewhaleonland.wordpress.com) showed me how to make the traditional Spanish aioli. And it was perfect! The taste was heavenly. The preparation seems simple, yet it was tricky. Important is that all ingredients must be in room temperature! I did the mistake of using egg from the ref, and my first attempt was a total failure! Fortunately, Jeanne was able to save it by adding mayonnaise. But the taste was not as good as when she prepared it. Well, more practice for me!
Have you tried any of the food mentioned above? What do you think? Maybe you also have a special seafood recipe that you’d like to share. Feel free to do so.