Spain is one of the finest countries in Europe to enjoy delicious seafood. It’s coastline meets the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay. All of which are abundant with all kinds of fish, crustacean and molluscs.
You just can’t visit Spain without trying some of the yummy local seafood. Recipes will vary slightly from region to region and the names on the menu might be different depending on the local dialect but it will all taste great.
This post will give you an overview of the best seafood across Spain. Along with my recommendations of the most delicious Spanish dishes you should eat.
The best Spanish Seafood dishes
Octopus – “Pulpo”
The best Spanish octopus dish in my opinion is Galician style known as “pulpo Gallego”. In Galicia, they slow boil large adult tentacles whole. Then cut the tentacle into small round pieces, which are coated in olive oil, sprinkled with paprika and served on a bed of sliced boiled potatoes. The meat is very tender and the skin has a soft, jelly like texture. This dish is so good, its served all across Spain.
Prawns – “Gambas”
Prawns in Spain come in varying sizes. I love eating the giant “gambas a la planca”, whole prawns, still in their shell, grilled on a hot plate with just a little oil and salt. It’s a lot of fun to de-shell the prawn and get to the sweet succulent flesh but can get quite messy. They are best served with a big wedge of lemon and a garlic mayo dipping sauce. Another famous Spanish prawn dish is “gambas pil pil”. A sizzling terracotta tapas plate of smaller, de-shelled prawns cooked in oil, garlic and chili.
Squid – “Calamares”
Fried rings of squid known as “calamares” or “calamar frito” is the most popular way to serve squid in Spain. The batter coating here is a very light dusting of flour and salt and the rings are usually fried in shallow, good quality Spanish olive oil. So, it’s not too heavy or greasy, the perfect appetizer or sharing dish.
Sardines – “Sardinas”
Down on the Costa del Sol they cook “sardinas espeto” which is my absolute favourite way to eat sardines. This is a type of barbeque that is set up on the beach. Fresh sardines are skewered over hot flaming logs of wood and left to sizzle in the sun. It’s an amazing late afternoon lunch to enjoy beside the sea. Inland you can still get grilled whole sardines and canned sardines are also particularly popular.
Mussels – “Mejillones”
The seas off the coast of Galicia produce most of Spain’s mussels or “mejillones”. Vast amounts are farmed and shipped across the country every day. I think the best way to enjoy mussels is steamed in a tasty broth. Spanish style broths usually include a few key ingredients like garlic, saffron, paprika, onion, chorizo or fresh tomatoes. The liquid base of the broth is typically sherry, white wine or cider. Bread is served in the side to make sure you can mop up all those juices.
Sea Bream – “Dorada”
“Dorada” is the fish you will see on most menus in Spain, in the UK its known as Sea Bream. Its served here either filleted or whole and is commonly baked in a salt crust. This is called “a la sal” and originates from the Andalusia region of Spain. It’s a lovely, delicate white fish and goes well with any side vegetables or salad.
Anchovies – “Boquerones”
Marinated white anchovies are known in Spain as “boquerones” and are a very common tapa. The marinade is usually vinegar, oil, garlic and herbs and they go perfectly with a nice cold Spanish beer.
Codfish – “Bacalao”
The process of salting and drying fish is one that fisherman used to use before they had fridges. It extends the shelf-life, means the fish can be exported easily and retains all the natural flavour and nutrients. It’s very popular still to eat “bacalao” in Spain and Portugal and the most commons way of serving it are in little balls or chunks that are fried in batter. In the Basque region they like to serve it with roasted, sweet, red peppers, which is yummy.
Keep an eye out for these delicious seafood dishes on the menu during your next visit to Spain and make sure you don’t leave without trying a few.
Other Seeking the Spanish Sun travel guides you may find useful…
Do you have a favourite seafood you love to eat in Spain? Let me know all about in the comments box below↓↓
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