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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. HAVING LIVED IN SPAIN FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS I HAVE TRULY MANAGED TO IMMERSE MYSELF IN THE LOCAL CULTURE AND FEEL TOTALLY INTEGRATED. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT MY PASSION FOR SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AS WELL AS ITS CULTURE, PEOPLE AND PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.

Spanish Fish Dishes - Bacalao a la Vizcaina
26 July 2017

Bacalao a la vizacaina is yet another example of the very tasty yet very simple dishes that come from the northern Spanish region of the Basque Country. The main ingredient of Bacalao a la vizacaina is codfish. Cod is perhaps one of the most consumed fish in Spain, although historically this fish was mostly a product eaten during Lent. It is also a fish that is easily fished around the coasts of Spain, of which there is a lot!

Originally from the Basque Country, Vizcaina sauce on the other hand, is a sauce that is extremely versatile and is used in a number of dishes from the region. It is often used for many stews and products such as the pork dish called 'Manos de cerdo con salsa vizcaína'. In some parts of the Basque Country, they even use the sauce in an escargot recipe. However most people will associate the sauce immediately with cod. Nowadays it is a rather polemic recipe - as is the case with most traditional recipes - the argument whether tomatoes should be one of it's ingredients or not is a very alive debate among gourmets and cooks, though many say that the red ingredient is pepper. Either way, the sauce is a rich red colour and is tasty with either ingredients. So when you come to make this dish, the choice is up to you!

The pepper theory seems historically more plausible, as tomatoes were not used as food in Spain even 200 years after they were imported; first they were used as ornamental plants. Perhaps, pepper was used originally and then, once the tomato became more commonly used in Spanish cooking, the sauce was adapated. But it doesn't really matter, in truth there are many formulas to prepare this sauce, and despite how much people may argue about it's historical accuracy, they are delicious anyway.

You might find that certain people use a type of Spanish biscuit, often a 'galleta maria', when they are making the sauce. These biscuits are used to help thicken the sauce, but it can often make it much sweeter. The sauce may be thick or runny, depending on your personal taste. If you don't want to use biscuits to thicken your sauce, you could always use plain or corn flour instead, which I prefer.

One of the great things about vizcaina sauce is that it is fairly simple to make and generally uses common and inexpensive ingredients. This means that it is a great option for those people who love Spanish gastronomy, but want to enjoy it on a budget!

 


Bacalao a la Vizcaina | Cod Bizcaine Style

Ingredients:

1 large salted cod loin (or fresh cod loin)
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
2 roasted peppers (preferably chorizo peppers
1 tomato
1 tbs of flour
Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  • Soak the cod loin in water for 24 hours, changing the water every 8 hours to get rid of some of the salt.
  • Then put the cod loin in a pan with cold water and heat. Remove from the heat when it begins to boil.
  • Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. Stir fry the diced onion until it begins to brown, then add the garlic cloves, peppers and tomato.
  • When all the ingredients are lightly fried add the flour, you need to cook it a little.
  • Add some of the broth in which the cod was cooked (two teacups) and let it boil at low heat. This broth has the flavor and jelly of the cod.
  • When the sauce gets a good thick consistency add the cod and keep on a low heat, only enough time to heat up the cod and then serve!

Enjoy!



Like 2        Published at 18:59   Comments (2)


Spanish Names for Fish - Really confusing
10 July 2017

I’ve been in Spain for quite some time now and there has always been an area of language that has always caused me problems and still does today, and that is fish. I have real difficulty sometimes translating the names of fish. The funny thing is my knowledge of fish and seafood before I came to Spain was already pretty limited and when I say limited I mean at most I had eaten Cod, Haddock, Lemon Sole, Trout and Plaice maybe a few others and my seafood was limited to Scampi, Mussels and Prawn, so my fish vocab was not extensive.  We were never big fish eaters in my family so when I came to Spain it wasn’t really high on the agenda of things to learn. However over the years I have come to love many varieties of seafood and fish, the majority of which I have discovered here in Spain and consequently learnt the Spanish name first, it wasn’t until a relative came to visit and asked what we were eating that I even thought about the English translation and that happened so rarely that the English names never really sunk in and I still get confused to this day with a few.  Now, I’m not sure if this is something unique to me but just in case other readers are having difficulty with fish and seafood names, I finally decided to put together a list of the most common varieties you will come across in Spain along with their English equivalent, hope you find it useful!  

I could have done with it a long time a go!! 

 

                         FISH   

 

Anchoa/Boquerón

Anchov

Anguila Eel
Arenque Herring
Atun Tuna
Bacalao Cod
Bonito Bonito
Caballa Mackerel
Calamar Squid
Carpa Carp
Caviar Caviar
Dorada Gilt Head Bream
Eglefino Haddock
Fletan Halibut
Galupe / Mujol Mullet
Lenguado Sole
Merluza Hake
Mero Grouper
Perca Perch
Pez Espada Marlin/Swordfish
Platija Flounder
Solla Plaice
Pulpo Octopus
Rape Monkfish
Raya Ray / Skate
Rodaballo Turbot
Salmon Salmon
Salmonete Red Mullet
Sardina Sardine
Sepia Cuttlefish
Lubina Sea Bass
Trucha Trout

 

 

 

 

                    SEAFOOD

Almejas Clam
Berberechos Cockle
Bogavante Lobster
Buey de Mar Edible / Brown Crab
Cangrejo de Rio Crawfish
Carabineros Scarlet Prawn
Centollo Spider Crab
Cigalas Scampi
Erizos de Mar Sea Urchin
Gambas Prawn 
Langosta Spiny Lobster
Langostinos Prawn (large)
Mejillones Mussels
Navajas Razor Clam
Nécoras Small crab
Ostras Oysters
Percebes Gooseneck Barnacles
Pulpo Octopus
Tellinas/ Coquinas Bean Clams
Vieiras Scallop


Like 2        Published at 21:22   Comments (11)


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