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Tips on what & where to buy fresh fish - Fri 21st July 2017

A few tips about what & where to buy really fresh fish.

Unfortunately most of the small fresh fish shops are closed, so you either go to the port market in the local coastal town you’re staying, or to the larger supermarkets.

You’ll find plentiful fish on display at the large supermarkets like Mercadona and Carrefour, but do avoid the cabinets with pre-packaged fish. These tend not to be fresh offerings and have preservatives in. I once purchased some sepia for grilling, but could not get that wonderful burnt singed outer layer served in restaurants, simply because mine had been soaked in water with preservative and would only seep a white watery liquid, regardless of how hot the grill pan was, much to my annoyance. When buying sepia (cuttlefish) or calamari  (squid) be sure you see the word ‘fresco’, meaning fresh alongside the name.

Like the UK much of the fish on offer like seabass (Lubina in Spanish) is farmed, but look for where it says salvaje (looks like savage) and this is wild caught fish. Dorada (seabream) is very popular and inexpensive.

To check the fish is very fresh, the gills should be bright red and the eyes bright and have a fresh fishy smell.

In great abundance and variety are the Gambas, langoustines and tiger prawns.  The latter come in different sizes from quite small to extremely large and as big as mackerel.

 

Here are a few common varieties you will come across in Spain along with their English equivalent, which you may find  useful.  

                     FISH   

 

   

Anchoa/Boquerón

Anchov

Anguila

Eel

Arenque

Herring

Atun

Tuna

Bacalao

Cod

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

 

 

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!! 

Posted by Bruce Gibson

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