The Spanish have their seafood figured out. “We know you love shrimp and prawns and crabs,” they say. “But what about a whole plate piled high with a mountain of seafood?” The Spanish dish mariscada is just that—an appetizing avalanche of seafood-y goodness. In this article, we’ll be talking about what mariscada is, and a few different ways you can make it at home.

What is mariscada?

Mariscada was first served to hungry diners in Spain. The coastal region of Galicia is particularly fond of this dish. But the lovely aroma must have wafted across borders and seas because you can find savvy seafood enthusiasts feasting on mariscada in Portugal and even Mexico.

As for the name (rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?), “mariscada” literally means “seafood platter” in Spanish.

A rather broad term, isn’t it? Because of this ambiguity, many culinary experimenters have come up with their own interpretations of what to include on said seafood platter. But at its core, if you order mariscada from a Spanish restaurante, you can expect a plate of all kinds of roasted or cooked seafood.

Enough history and etymology, though. Let’s dive into the waters and see how to make mariscada at home.

How to make mariscada at home

Remember how we said mariscada doesn’t have one exact interpretation? That’s why we’ll give you not one, but two ways to make this seafood sensation!

Recipe #1 – Simple mariscada.

This is as close to the traditional seafood platter as you can get. Want to eat as the Spaniards do on the Galician coast? This is the recipe for you.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 littleneck clams, washed
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 6 mussels, washed
  • 24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12 bay scallops or 3 large sea scallops, quartered and tough muscle removed
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups clam juice or unsalted fish stock
  • 2 cups asparagus juice from two 15-ounce cans of asparagus
  • Salt to taste

Preparation instructions

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat and add the oil.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, and clams. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a spoon, push the clams to one side, then sprinkle the flour into the base of the pot and stir. You should be left with a thin, smooth paste.
  4. One at a time, add the mussels, shrimp, scallops, and sherry. Simmer until the sherry evaporates (about 3 minutes).
  5. Pour in the clam juice or fish stock and the asparagus juice. Simmer until the mussels and clams are fully opened and the shrimp and scallops are opaque (about 5 minutes more).
  6. Season to taste with salt.

For that authentic Spanish feel, serve in a pot and spooned over rice.

Recipe #2 – Portuguese style mariscada with rice.

Our simple mariscada eventually hopped the Spain-Portugal border and took on many forms in the new land. One such variation—Portuguese-style mariscada with rice. Go for this recipe if you want the tummy-filling wholeness of rice but still want to crack into some succulent seafood.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 branch of Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 sliced onions
  • ½ cup of oil
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 8 clams – medium
  • 12 mussels
  • 4 squid (cut in pieces)
  • 2 lobster tails
  • 12 large shrimps with heads
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Preparation instructions

  1. Put the olive oil in a saucepan and arrange the tomatoes, onions, and peppers in layers.
  2. Add ½ of the chopped coriander, ½ cup of white wine, a little Portuguese paprika, and salt to taste.
  3. Cover the pan over medium heat until it starts to boil. At that time, add the clams and allow them to cook for five minutes.
  4. Then add the lobster tails, shrimp, and mussels. Increase heat slowly so that it does not retain a lot of liquid.
  5. Let the clams and mussels open and uncover the pan. Keep checking the heat for another 10 minutes or until everything is cooked.
  6. Add the other half of chopped coriander on top and the juice of a lemon. Serve with white rice.

Final thoughts

They say there’s plenty of fish (and prawns and crabs and lobsters) in the sea.  Step on land, and you’ll find there’s plenty of ways to cook all of them!

We’ve shown you two ways to prepare a mouth-watering mariscada platter. But these aren’t the be-all, end-all of dishes. Just google “mariscada recipes”. You’ll stumble across more preparations than you can pile on a platter.

One final thing. Mariscada isn’t just a dish. It’s an experience. You’re meant to roll up your sleeves and dive in. You will ruin your shirt—but that’s part of the fun. Seeing a mountain of seafood in front of you will tickle some primal part of your brain. Let your instincts run wild and enjoy your mariscada.

Let us know in the comments how your seafood adventure pans out!

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