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How To Eat Shellfish - A Seafood Guide To Spanish Cuisine

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Seafood - fish and shellfish play an important role in Spanish cuisine

If you visit Spain and come back without eating their extensive spread of seafood, then you might as well have never gone to Spain. Seafood, finfish or shellfish, is an indispensible part of Spanish cuisine and if you shy away from tasting one of the most heavenly dishes ever made just because you don’t know how to eat shellfish, then reading this blog will do you good. Here in this blog I have shared some easy to follow tips on eating shellfish like a pro, so read on….


If you have no idea what shellfish are, then you need to know shellfish is not a single type of fish but a term that refers to all non finfish seafood including shrimps, lobsters, clams, oysters, squids, crabs, and more. Thus, the way you will eat shellfish will depend on the type of shellfish you are eating.

• Oysters: Oysters are usually served raw on half shells, i.e., the oyster shells are opened (through a process called shucking) and the oyster is detached from the shell before serving. To eat oyster on half shell add some sauces or garnishing that is served with the dish, and tilt the shell to your lips to allow the oyster to slide into your mouth. Refer to this blog for further details on eating oysters. 

• Lobsters: Spaniards usually serve the lobsters, prepared whole with flavorful sauces. To eat a lobster, you will need a lobster cracker and lobster picker along with the other silverware. First, you need to remove the claws by pulling it down and away from the body, now crack the claw shell to break it open and expose the meat inside, and pick the meat,. Remove the legs and suck the meat from inside. Now, place the lobster upside down, pull the shell around the tail open, and lift the tail meat out. The body has very little edible meat, to get this meat out, open the body shell and carefully pick the white edible meat, remember to avoid the gut and other organs. Now, rinse your fingers and eat the picked meat with the sauce or salad provided. Always remember to place the discarded shell pieces in the extra plate provided.

• Crabs: Eating crabs can be even messier than lobsters. To eat crab, hold the crab upside down and snap off all the legs by twisting them back and forth. Now remove the heart shaped apron from the body (many a times, it is already removed before serving, so if you don’t find one no need to worry). Now, using a knife remove the shell off the crab, and remove the inedible yellow colored meat. Break the remaining body into half to expose the edible meat, scoop out all the meat. Using a wooden mallet or a shell cracker break open the legs and remove the meat out. Now, rinse your fingers and enjoy the crab.

Fried calamari is one of the most sought after dishes in Spain

• Clams: These may be eaten raw, just like oysters, but clams are popularly served steamed. To eat steamed clams, pick the clam from the shell by holding its neck (be careful for these can be really slippery), now dip the clam in clam broth or butter and finish if it off in a single bite.


• Snails: Snails are always served with a pair of special tongs and garlic butter on the side. To eat the snails hold them with the tongs and pick out the meat from the shell using a snail fork. Dip the snail in the butter and savor, mop up the extra butter sauce with a piece of bread. 

• Squid: Calamari – the most popular and tasty dish that one identifies Spanish and Italian food with is made from fried squid rings. Calamari is usually served with cocktail sauce, horseradish, or spicy brown mustard sauce. To eat the calamari, pick the ring with a fork, dip it into the sauce of your choice, and finish it off.

So, these are some of the ways in which you might choose to enjoy shellfish. If you would want to prepare some shellfish recipes and practice eating them at home, then do refer to these recipes.  


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How To Eat Shellfish - A Seafood Guide To Spanish Cuisine