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Ordering fish in stores/markets?

Ordering fish in stores/markets?

Old Nov 28th 2021, 12:57 pm
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Default Ordering fish in stores/markets?

What are the options that you can ask for at supermarkets or market fish stalls in terms of preparing the fish (gutting, descaling, fillet)?

Also, which types of local fish would you advise to just gut and then cook as a whole and which ones should you ask them to fillet on the spot?
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Old Nov 28th 2021, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

Originally Posted by astera View Post
What are the options that you can ask for at supermarkets or market fish stalls in terms of preparing the fish (gutting, descaling, fillet)?

Also, which types of local fish would you advise to just gut and then cook as a whole and which ones should you ask them to fillet on the spot?
It all depends on what you want. Simplest and most often asked is limpio por favor and that will get you the fish gutted, descaled and the fins and tail cut off. If you don´t want to make fish stock with the bits you can ask for sin cabeza, chop of the head please. I personnaly ask for it abierto, ie butterflyed to make it easier to grill. If you don´t want many bones then just ask for filetes, and you will get 2 lovely, practically boneless fillets.
My opinion only, dorada (gilt head bream or sea bream), lubina (sea bass), or caballa (mackeral) are all fish that have tasty flesh and do not any sauce accompaniment.
Rodaballo (turbot) when it is in season and fairly cheap is quite bland and needs a sauce.
Salmon is always good, but if you don´t want to buy a whole or half fish, look in the chiller. A whole or half salmon will produce a lot of lateral slices that look like horseshoes (rodajas) and can be frozen for later use, I find that there a lot of bones to contend with when you get rodajas.
Sardines or fresh anchovies (boquerones) are usually just gutted, if you are buying a lot of them, order them before you do your shopping and return at the end to collect them.
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Old Nov 28th 2021, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

Huge thanks Steve!

I haven't been buying fresh fish as much as I'd like to simply because I didn't know how to ask for it to be prepared, so I've generally been picking up fish like mackerel from the fridge at places like Lidl that is ready to throw into the oven. But for starters I'll now come in and hopefully get started with "Limpio por favor. Sin cabeza."

So dorada and lubina are best gutted and baked/grilled whole? Turbot I know, similar to flounder but bigger and like you say needs some flavour added to it. What about cherne or vieja (apparently the local fish in my area)? Any idea whether to cook them whole or just do fillets?

My kids love Salmon but I only eat it raw - once it's been cooked it's kind of like tuna, good for those who don't like sushi/sashimi... and cats.

Ideally I'd like to grill some red snapper but I'm probably in the wrong part of the globe to enjoy that.
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Old Nov 28th 2021, 9:37 pm
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

Originally Posted by astera View Post
What about cherne or vieja (apparently the local fish in my area)? Any idea whether to cook them whole or just do fillets?

My kids love Salmon but I only eat it raw - once it's been cooked it's kind of like tuna, good for those who don't like sushi/sashimi... and cats.

Ideally I'd like to grill some red snapper but I'm probably in the wrong part of the globe to enjoy that.
Both cherne (stone bass) and vieja (a bit like parrot fish) are good grilled or baked whole. A nice sized salmon fillet pan fried without any oil, it has enough of iis own, tastes loveley with a bit of a golden crust, better than just steaming.

Red snapper is pargo rojo if you can find it.

Last edited by stevesainty; Nov 28th 2021 at 9:39 pm.
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Old Nov 29th 2021, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

It really is worth learning the Spanish so you can ask for your fresh fish to be prepared how you like it - I have always found the fish servers (?) to be very helpful and tolerant of my Spanish - give it a go and with a few hand gestures, they will understand!

Go on try!! and then enjoy.
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Old Nov 29th 2021, 9:27 am
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

Just a list I put together for fish and seafood

abadejo (el) - pollack, almejas (las) - clams, anguila (la) - eel, atún (el) or bonito (el) - tuna, bacalao (el) - cod, bogavante (el) - lobster, boquerones (los) or anchoas (las) - anchovies, caballa (la) - mackerel, calamar (la) - squid, camerones (los) - shrimps, cangrejo (el) - crab, chipirones (los) or chopitos (los) - baby squids, corvina (la)
sea bass, dorada (la) - gilt head bream, eglefino (el) - haddock, emperador (el) - swordfish, fletán (el) - halibut, gallo de san pedro (el) - john dory, gambas (las) - prawns, gulas (las) - eels - baby, langostinos (los) - crayfish, lenguado (el) - Sole, common or Dover, lubina (la) - sea bream, mejlilones (los) - mussels, merluza (la) - hake, mero (el) - grouper, navajas (las) - razor clams, pargo rojo (el) - red snapper, pulpo (el) - octopus, rape (el) - monkfish, rodaballo (el) - turbot, salmón (el) - salmon, sardines (los) - sardines, sépia (la) - cuttlefish, trucha (la) - trout, vieiras (las) - scallops.

and English first

cod - bacalao (el), eel - anguila (la), eels - baby - gulas (las), gilt head bream - dorada (la), grouper - mero (el), haddock - eglefino (el), hake - merluza (la), halibut - fletán (el), john dory - gallo de san pedro (el), mackerel - caballa (la), monkfish - rape (el), pollock - abadejo (el), red snapper - pargo rojo (el), salmon - salmón (el), sardines - sardines (los), sea bass - corvina (la), sea bream lubina (la), sole common or Dover - lenguado (el), swordfish - emperador (el), trout - trucha (la), tuna - atún (el) or bonito (el), turbot - rodaballo (el), anchovies - boquerones (los) or anchoas (las), baby squids - chipirones (los) or chopitos (los), clams - almejas (las), clams - razor - navajas (las), crab - cangrejo (el), crayfish - langostinos (los), cuttlefish - sépia (la), lobster - bogavante (el), mussels - mejlilones (los), octopus - pulpo (el), prawns - gambas (las), scallops - vieiras (las), shrimps - camerones (los), squid - calamar (la),
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Old Nov 29th 2021, 9:40 am
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?



I would add that the fishmongers will always be able to guide you so do not be afraid to ask what is the best that they have that day.

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Old Nov 29th 2021, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

My favourite fish is Herring and I have yet to see them here in Spain or of course delicious Kippers, not the boil in the bag variety I'll add.
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Old Nov 29th 2021, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

No mention of rosada? Similar to hake.
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Old Nov 29th 2021, 2:59 pm
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

Probably because it is not a Spanish fish. It’s a type of eel caught in the South Atlantic and imported usually frozen.

it’s worth pointing out that many of the popular fish are either imported or farmed or both. Lubina and dorada are farmed, hence their uniform size and low price. A proper line caught sea bass (Lubina) would cost about 5-10 times as much.

Almost all prawns are imported frozen from the South Atlantic which is why they cost less than €10/kg. We can get small locally caught prawns which are very small and cost €100/kg at Xmas.

The OP seems to be in Tenerife which gives him the opportunity to buy lots of ocean fish that are rare in Spain. One not mentioned so far is Mero. A big meaty fish and common around the Canary Islands.

Haddock is a beautiful fish caught in large quantities by the Spanish fishing fleet but it is almost impossible to buy in Spain. No idea why as it is much better than Spanish Hake.
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Old Nov 29th 2021, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: Ordering fish in stores/markets?

I was in Tarbert Scotland last year. The shellfish were landed. loaded on to a spanish mega lorry and off they went.

nought for us!
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