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fish at the market

Slimy things on beds of ice. This is sort of the general tenor of the fish stalls at our Mercat, which is Catalan for market. The Mercat, of course, is full of raw, natural, farm-fresh unprocessed food. I’ll try any fruit or vegetable, but when it comes to proteins, I will admit that I prefer boneless, finless, scale-free meats and fish which I can recognize, and which is not still looking at me. I am not proud of this, but that’s how it is.

Being near the Mediterranean, fish is a big feature in this town. The one they call sepia resembles a glossy white eggplant, but very wet. Squid and its cousins are everywhere. One mysterious fish was displayed somehow flayed in a square, half black, half white. Very pretty. I’m not going near it.

Speaking of fish, if you order something called a truite, do not expect a trout. It’s going to be a hefty omelette, sometimes stuffed with green beans.

meat at the marketOver by meats, most of them pork, many of them sausages, the biggest surprise is the variety of hamburguesas, which is a generic term for ground-up stuff formed into a patty, often with bits of cheese or veggies mixed in. It could be made of pork, turkey, chicken, beef, soy, or garbanzos, but it’s still a hamburguesa. Call me a rube, but I like this better than whole rabbits, pigs’ trotters, and chicken feet which are all quite anatomically correct. As noted, I’m not proud of this.

olives at the marketThere must be tons of vegetarians about, because one can buy many different kinds and colors of dry lentils. And olives! Even the grand supermercado has olives of a zillion shades and sizes and degrees of pickling. Pizza is a very big deal here, with freshly-made pies in even the tiniest convenience stores. More mysterious is the slew of cannelloni, an Italian dish made of a fat pasta tube with various stuffings inside, always covered with a sinful cream sauce. These come in as many varieties as the olives.

valencia oranges at the marketWhen in doubt, I’ve learned, reach for a Valencia orange. They are uniformly sweet, juicy, profound in flavor, and perfect in every way.

There is much, much more to write about food, and we will do so. But I’ve just eaten my ensalada russe and roasted eggplant, and it all makes me want a nap. Heck, it’s 14:00. Everybody else is napping.