Ham, Cheese, and Shellfish… Again?

2 Jan
Ok, so I haven’t written much about what Spanish people eat for the holidays. What I’ve learned through my students is that it varies a lot. Some eat turkey, others lamb, some seafood, and others stews or soups. But the basics are almost always on the table: a good cheese, jamón serrano (cured ham), and gambas (prawns/shrimp).

At Alejandro’s house these are definitely the staples. This year Alejandro received a ham arm as a going away present from his company.

Normally, the arm (La Paletilla) which is cheaper than the leg, costs between $50-$100. The leg costs between $100-$200 although some can be MUCH more expensive. I was excited to try cutting the slices, as it is quite difficult to do, and more so to cut them thin. Here is some of my work, the first plate is my first attempt and the second a bit improved!

El Puerto de Santa Maria, the city where Ale is from, is a beach city, so of course his family eats a lot of seafood. Some of the plates we had between Christmas dinner and New Year’s Eve were a fish stew, clams in a garlic mushroom wine sauce, cold shrimp, cold mussels, crab salad, and fried hake (a white fish). I like the majority of these things and his mom is a great cook… but after a week of the same stuff, I’m ready to go out for some MEAT. I love Spanish food, and nutritionally speaking the mediterranean diet is very healthy… but I miss my pasta (which is Mediterranean but not typical of Spain) and my MEAT!

Here are some pictures of the typical:

The Typical Spread

Local Mussels Served Cold With Lemon

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in olive oil, loads of garlic, and some hot peppers)

Crab Salad Garnished with Langostinos (Large Shrimp)

Clams in Mushroom Wine Sauce


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