Do You Know How To Order Your Fish?

Check your skills recognising fish and seafood from the Spanish coast.

By Real Academia de Gastronomía

Fish stall at San Sebastián's Mercado de la Bretxa (2020)Real Academia de Gastronomía

Take a good look at the image we are showing you. Would you recognize these fish species?

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

1. What species is it?

It's a sea bream. It's a very popular fish and easy to recognize. Sea bream is widely consumed in Spanish gastronomy. On the Mediterranean coast it is usually prepared on a salt bed. Baking the fish like this allows the heat to reach it, but keeps it dry, partially eliminating the fat while preserving its juices and nutrients.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

2. What species is it?

They are red shrimp, one of the stars of Spanish cookery. They are related to shrimp and crayfish, although they tend to be smaller in size than the latter. This shellfish is one of the most important culinary hallmarks of Dénia, in Alicante, a city declared UNESCO's Creative City of Gastronomy.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

3. What species is it?

Anchoa or boqueron? Well actually we are talking about the same species: anchovy, also known as bokarta on the Cantabrian coast. However, the terms are not interchangeable: bokarta is used to denominate Cantabrian anchovy, caught and eaten fresh. The term anchoa refers to the salted preparation, while boqueron is used when it is marinated in vinegar.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

Canned anchovies are one of the most exquisite preserved foods in Spain. Anchovies in vinegar are among the simplest and easiest to make: simply marinate raw anchovy fillets in vinegar, garlic, and parsley, and add olive oil. These two flavors work so well together that they make up a delicious mouthful known as matrimonio (marriage), which can be found in tapas bars all across Spain.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

4. What species is it?


 

They are cuttlefish, which are basically just small squid. Cuttlefish dishes are widespread across the whole of Spain, especially in the Basque Country where they are traditionally prepared in their ink. The origin of this recipe is unknown, but one of the most likely theories was put forward in the thesis of Julián Otero, from the Basque Culinary Center, which suggests Filipino provenance.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

5. What species is it?

It's a clawed lobster, one of the most traditional and popular shellfish in Galicia. Very similar to the spiny lobster, it is the largest crustacean. It lives in the sandy and rocky depths, taking advantage of the crevices and caves there.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

6. What species is it?

It's a conger eel. It looks like a European eel, but is actually a white fish native to the Mediterranean Sea, although it can also be found in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea. It has a distinctive, flavorful meat, but needs to be eaten carefully as it also contains many bones.

The conger eel often cohabitates in caves with clawed lobsters—they make a good partnership, each dependent on the other. Octopus is one of the main predators of the clawed lobster, and the conger eel feeds on octopus.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

7. What species is it?

It's an octopus, the so-called king of Galician cuisine, along with mussels. In this region it is prepared in a style known as feira, with paprika, olive oil, potatoes, and salt. The Galician method for cooking octopus is as unique as it is sublime.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

8. What species is it?

This large, pleasant-looking crab is one of the most widely eaten crustaceans by humans. It is generally known as brown crab or edible crab, but is given different names depending on the geographic area, for example ñocla or noca in Asturias, masera in Cantabria, etc.

Here's a curious fact about the difference in behavior of the male and female when exchanging shells. The male tends to protect the female while she moves shells. However, when the males move shell, the females chase them to eat them.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

9. What species is it?

They are sea urchins, one of the gastronomical gems of the Costa Brava, in Catalonia, and valued for their special, intense flavor. They can be eaten raw, by simply opening them and sprinkling with a little lemon or lime juice, in order to appreciate their intense flavor of the sea. Sea urchin was one of Salvador Dalí's favorite dishes, and he used the echinoderm in many of his paintings, with various meanings.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

10. What species is it?

This species is known as a gurnard. It is a rockfish, like the conger eel or the monkfish. In the region of Villajoyosa, in Alicante, this strongly flavored fish is used to make a sweet rice dish in a copper or iron pot.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

11. What species is it?

This is a species that is difficult to recognize as it has been presented. It is frigate mackerel, and in this case it has been salted. Frigate mackerel, along with tuna, bonito, and mackerel, makes up the family of true tunas that are fished in the Mediterranean Sea.

The consumption of dried, salted fish is deeply rooted in the recipes of traditional Spanish cookery. Before the arrival of industrial refrigeration in the second half of the 19th century, the main way of preserving food was using salt.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

12. What species is it?

They are two red scorpion fish. This species of fish is the most well known of the scorpionf ish family and undoubtedly the most important from an economic and gastronomic point of view. In the 1970s, Juan Mari Arzak popularized a red scorpion fish pudding (pastel de kabrarroka), which is very popular all across Spain today.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

13. What species is it?

This ugly-looking fish is a monkfish, also known as frog-fish. The meat is first-rate, concentrated, and very tasty. The tail is the only part that is eaten, but the head is used in soups and broths to add superior flavor.

What species it is?Real Academia de Gastronomía

14. What species is it?

To finish, this is one of the most expensive marine species found in all of Spain: an elver, the offspring of European eels. In Spain, it was traditionally found in the cuisines of Gipuzkoa and Biscay, but its popularity has spread to other parts of the country. The most famous dish is Bilbao-style elvers, served in an earthenware pot with garlic and chili.

Credits: Story

Image: David de Luis

This exhibition is part of the Spanish gastronomy project, España: Cocina Abierta (Spain: Open Kitchen), coordinated by Google Arts & Culture and Spain's Royal Academy of Gastronomy (Real Academia de la Gastronomía). The section on culinary legacy was coordinated by María Llamas, director of the Alambique cookery store and school.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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