Spain’s star seafood dishes inspired by San Sebastian

Create a taste of Michelin-starred San Sebastián at home with these delicious seafood dishes

hen you think of Spanish cuisine, it’s probably tapas that come to mind, but the country’s contribution to world cuisine extends far beyond bites. Like Ireland, Spain is a country that values ​​home cooking using quality ingredients, especially seafood. This is the philosophy followed by Omar Allibhoy, the chef and restaurateur trained by Gordon Ramsay behind Spanish Made Simple. The new cookbook features popular Spanish dishes as well as recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation in Allibhoy’s family. “My philosophy in the kitchen has always been the same: cook without fuss and eat like a king,” he says. “Eating well is a luxury to which we are all entitled, so take advantage of it.”

Almejas a la Marinera (clam fisherman style)

This dish relies on fresh clams and a bit more because that’s how the fishermen cook them while on the boat. But it’s just as popular on land!

For 4 people in tapa.

Ingredients

600 g (1 lb 5 oz) clams, cleaned and any open or damaged shells discarded

60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

¼ red chilli, finely chopped

2 teaspoons plain flour

1 tsp sweet pepper (smoked sweet paprika)

1 tsp of salt

160 ml (⅔ cup) white wine

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method

Put the clams in a large bowl or in the sink, cover with cold salted water and let stand for 1 hour, stirring them occasionally with your hand. This will help the clams open up and release the sand.

Place a large skillet over high heat and add the oil, onion, garlic and chilli and cook until the onion is translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat and add the flour, chili pepper and salt, stirring continuously for 1 minute to cook the flour and make a roux.

Gradually add the wine, stirring vigorously until the wine and flour are completely combined. Continue cooking for at least 2 minutes over low heat. If you see the sauce getting too thick, add a little water.

Drain the clams and add them to the pan with the parsley, mix well, cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the mixture several times.

By now all the clams should be open; if not, cover and cook for another minute or so.

Discard clams that do not open before serving.

Carpaccio de Atun (tuna carpaccio with olive, mango and caper vinaigrette)

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Tuna carpaccio with olive, mango and caper sauce

Tuna carpaccio with olive, mango and caper sauce

In Spain, we fish for tuna off the northern and southern coasts of the peninsula. It is highly regarded, a true delicacy that is expensive but worth every penny.

Whether stored in a glass jar, simmered or served raw, its distinctive taste and texture turn any recipe into a treat. This lean dish will put a smile on your face.

For 4 people.

Ingredients

300 g (10½ oz) fresh tuna loin, about 4 cm (1½ in) wide and 20 cm (8 in) long

1 lemon

½ mango, peeled and finely diced

6 pitted black olives, halved

1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons of capers

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

A few fresh coriander leaves

A pinch of sea salt

Method

Cut the tuna into 2 small fillets about 4 cm wide and 10 cm long and sear very lightly on all sides in a very hot, dry pan, about 10 seconds on each side. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours.

Remove plastic wrap from chilled tuna and cut into ª inch (5 mm) slices with a sharp knife. Arrange on a plate.

Zest the lemon then remove the zest and cut the flesh into small cubes. Put in a bowl with the mango, olives, chilli and chives. Add the capers and olive oil, mix well then use to season the tuna. Garnish with cilantro, season with a little salt and enjoy.

Vieiras Gratinadas (gratin of scallops and serrano ham served in the shell)

Scallops are more common here than they are in Spain. In my country, we don’t eat that much. It may be because we have a greater variety of other seafood available.

That said, this recipe packs a flavor punch.

For those who hate anchovies, don’t let the anchovy in breadcrumbs put you off; Believe me when I say that after cooking the anchovy won’t taste the same as when you take it out of the can.

For 4 people in tapa.

Ingredients

8 scallops in their shells (you can ask your fishmonger to open them for you)

275 ml (1 cup + 2½ tbsp) whole milk

30g (2 tbsp) butter

½ onion, finely chopped

30 g (1 oz) Serrano ham, finely chopped

30g (3⅔tbsp) plain flour

A pinch of salt

A pinch of white pepper

4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

1 salted anchovy

1 sprig of fresh parsley

Method

Open the scallops and use a sharp knife to separate the meat from the shell. Get rid of all the ugly bits so you’re left with only white meat and red eggs. If you don’t like the eggs, take them out. Wash the shells and scallops, pat them dry with paper towel and set aside.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Preheat grill (grill) to hot. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion and ham for a few minutes until the onion is tender and translucent.

Add the flour and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the flour has a light toasted color. Gradually add the lukewarm milk, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until you obtain a creamy and silky white sauce.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring so that the sauce does not stick to the pan. Place the breadcrumbs, anchovies and parsley in a food processor and mix.

Line up the shells on a baking sheet and place a scallop on each shell. Cover with a few spoonfuls of ham béchamel and sprinkle with anchovy crumbs. Grill for 5 minutes and serve hot.

Dino S. Williams