Spain offers a rich variety of seafood from the coast areas, which are used in the preparation of many delicious and traditional dishes. The fish industry in Spain is extremely important and forms part of the livelihood of many of the population.
Galician cuisine refers to the typical dishes and ingredients found in the cuisine of the autonomous community of Galicia in Spain. These dishes include shellfish, empanadas, polbo á feira and the cheese queixo de tetilla complemented by albariño wines and orujo liquor.
As well as a wide variety of seafood, agriculture products such as potatoes, maize and wheat are staples in the Galician diet along with dairy and meat products from animals such as cows, sheep and pigs. Galicia’s grasses and shrubs are green year-round and are excellent for grazing and beef production.
Its rich agricultural heritage has positioned Spain as one of the world’s largest producers of grapes and olives, with wine and olive oil now protected by various Designations of Origin.
Octopus (pulpo) aside, the Galician coasts provide an abundance of seafood of all shapes and sizes, which are most often simply boiled or steamed and served with lemon. You can typically find the following shellfish and crustaceans on a restaurant menu: clams, razor clams, cockles, mussels, oysters, scallops, Norway lobsters, shrimp, lobster, velvet crab, spider crab, brown crab and percebes or goose-neck barnacles. If you can’t decide on just one, you can always order a mariscada or huge seafood platter – a little expensive but definitely worth it.
As for the pimientos de Padrón, if you’re looking for heat, you may have to eat a bowl or two of these little green delights as only around one rogue pimientos in ten are seriously hot, while the rest are similar to mild green capsicums. As the Galician saying goes, “os pementos de Padrón: uns pican e outros non”, which means “Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not.”
The hearty lacón con grelos is a great advocate and most representative of Galician cuisine. It is a dish of lacón or salted pork shoulder, turnip greens, chorizo, Galician potatoes and sometimes chickpeas.
Another renowned Galician dish is caldo galego – the word caldo in Galician literally means “broth”. This rustic dish is a far cry from the watery stock that word might conjure up. Potatoes are boiled together with cabbage, chunky white beans, grelos or local greens and lard. Often creamy pork fat, chorizo, ham or other cuts of pork are added to create a warm, fortifying stew.