Food & Wine


Summer shrimp

Gambes are a must for the holiday season

It would be difficult to understand seafood cuisine without the shrimp (gamba), a wide variety of which is to be found in Catalan markets. The most common type is the red shrimp (gamba rosada), familiar by its smooth, relatively soft body and its fine, tender flesh that has a distinctive tang of the sea. Also, as its name suggests, it is distinctive for its vibrant pink colour.

However, this is far from being the only type of shrimp consumed in Catalonia. For example, there is also what is known as the gamba panxuda (soldier striped shrimp), a smaller variety that lives up to 400 metres below the surface of the sea. Also pink in colour, these shrimps have distinctive fine lines on their tails (as the name in English suggests) and often the turquoise colour of their eggs shows through their translucent bellies. To cook these shrimps, one need only lightly fry them, which is also true of the gambot (scarlet prawn), a shrimp that is a deeper red and larger at up to 30 centimetres in length.

As for how to go about cooking these different typical Catalan varieties of shrimp, most experts agree that the simpler the better. Therefore, there is no need to get complicated when it comes to preparing the crustaceans, with the most important thing being not to cook them for too long, which kills their flavour. The best way is simply to lightly fry them in a little oil after carefully washing them and seasoning with salt. Cooking them with a little crushed garlic and parsley also helps to bring out their flavour and serve up the ideal food for hot summer days.

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