SEAFOOD AND FISH
Five of Andalucia's eight provinces have stretches of coastline (Almería, Granada, Málaga on the Mediterranean; Cádiz and Huelva on the Atlantic), while a sixth, Sevilla, has a tidal river and a seaport. So, you can imagine that the cooking of the coastal regions is distinguished by a huge variety of seafood. The fish market is a great place to get acquainted with the local catch.
Also, tapas bars, freidurías (fried fish to go) and cocederos (cooked fish to go) display dozens of different fish and shellfish. You buy a heap of cooked prawns, wrapped in a paper cone, and carry them to the nearest bar to shell and eat them with a fino wine.
Fresh prawns, clams, mussels, scallops, crabs, lobster, squid are some of the shellfish.
Of fin fish, fresh anchovies (boquerones), sardines, mackerel, hake (merluza), several varieties of sea bream (look for besugo, dorada, hurta, pargo), monkfish (rape), sole, turbot, sea bass, red mullet (salmonete), grouper, skate, conger, swordfish, tuna, and even more. Fried isn't the only way fish is prepared. It may be grilled and served with a garlic and parsley sauce, or baked in a crust of salt, or baked with potatoes and vegetables or sauced or combined in a salad.
Espeto - The Malaga fish on a stick
If you’ve ever eaten at a beach restaurant, or chiringuito, in or around Malaga in summer, then you’ve probably seen, smelled, or tasted an espeto of sardines. This is a traditional way of cooking freshly-caught sea fish, most often sardines but also sea bream and even shellfish and calamari, speared on a long flat stick (espeto or espetada) and barbequed over a hot fire on the beach. The espetos of sardines look especially beautiful, with rows of shiny silver fish turning golden in the heat. Espetar means to spear, drive through with something. More >
THE ALMADRABA: CATCHING BLUE-FIN TUNA THE TRADITIONAL WAY
Every year in May, after the first full moon, fishermen from towns on the Cadiz part of the Costa de la Luz, including Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes, Conil de la Frontera, and Tarifa, set up a complicated labyrinth of nets off the Atlantic coast, called the almadraba, to catch blue-fin tuna. This is a major social and gastronomic event, providing essential (if seasonal) work for fishermen, packing factories, restaurants along the coast. More >
Take a taste of Andalucia - Janet Mendel offers us her Paella recipes. "Paella is a golden rice dish which rates with the best rice dishes in the world. In Andalucía, paella is happy food, fiesta food, served for Sunday lunch or a picnic in the country. Beyond paella are more rice dishes which also make tasty eating.
Fresh Prawns from Sanlucar de Barrameda