Walking into Olhão’s fish market is an incredible experience, and if you are just there to browse then you will probably leave feeling amazed. Going there to buy though can sometimes feel quite daunting even though the fishmongers are lovely and the quality of fish is incredible. For those who regularly visit a good fish market you are probably wondering why I might be saying this. It is because sometimes we just don’t know where to start as the range of fish is amazing.
The other challenge for us is that the majority of fish on sale is unknown in northern waters and consequently unrecognizable to most northern Europeans, and then there are the names. Yes everything is named, but some of the names are regional or generic ones. Can be challenge when trying to determine exactly which Flounder, Bream or Sole they are selling and which you actually want. We have found Alan Davidson’s ‘The Tio Pepe Guide to the Seafood of Spain and Portugal‘ invaluable in helping us to identify.
Our repeated purchase has been Pescada (Hake) – it’s such a delicious fish and so easy to prepare. I also love the fact you can buy a mix of fish for a fish stew or curry. This is called Caldeirada, and it is well worth purchasing as not only does it save you the trouble of making a decision about what to buy but you get a great mix of fresh fish.
Another good thing to make is squid stew, hence the pictures above! Today though I thought I’d focus on some of the more unusual fish you will see on sale in the markets.
Shopping here really is a little bit of an adventure as you try and decide what type of fish you are looking at, and then what you want to eat. In fact I rarely decide what we are going to have as I’m either too busy taking photographs or it all looks so good that I am overwhelmed by the choice and so leave it to my lovely husband to choose!
One of the more unusual is the Nursehound – Gata or Roxo – mainly because of the way it is sold. I have shown below the versions we have seen to date.
If you have come across something which you are unsure what it is, then I will be sharing photographs of some of the more common fish in the next few weeks. If you cannot wait until my next two Fish Market posts then pop across to Fishbase and/or Oceanario as these are great fish identification sites, or if you are in Olhão stop for lunch at Vai e Volta for perfectly grilled fish.