Popular dishes around the world undeniably include seafood. You can munch on both sea creatures and plants, such as algae. Among sea creatures, the most popular are fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, and mollusks. If you haven’t tasted these delicacies yet, fix it, they are real treats.
The seafood usually comes from hunts in the seas and oceans or from farms where they are kept in large, carefully controlled reservoirs or special aquariums. The offer has significantly expanded in Slovakia in recent years with deep-frozen packages or canned seafood in brine. Sometimes you can buy them fresh. However, often, they are instead skillfully presented defrosted products. Seafood is a renowned specialty. Today, if we don’t count fish, it is an essential part of many restaurant menus. You can find them almost at every Asian bistro menu. You can also find diverse, delicious recipes from around the world. Most of them are easy to find on the Internet. However, you can also create your recipes. In this case, it is best to get inspired mainly by Mediterranean cuisine. The most diverse offer can still be found mainly in coastal countries and specialized sales points, such as marketplaces, in many other developed landlocked European capitals. Slovaks often get to try them while traveling abroad or at various gastronomic events and street food festivals.
The seafood selection is diverse. Crustaceans are mainly crayfish, crabs, shrimps, and lobsters, with a typical shell and reddish meat. Another group consists of mollusks, which either have two shells, such as oysters, mussels, scallops, and clams or have one shell and a soft bottom (such as a green ormer). Sought-after octopuses and squids are also mollusks. The sea creatures are incredible. Mussels and oysters feed on the filtration of salt water. Therefore, plenty of seawater flows thru their bodies during the day. Today, it is also polluted water, so their quality has decreased. Only creatures from clean water are suitable for eating.
Cuttlefish that belong to cephalopods have become extremely popular among Slovaks. They have a more pronounced and richer taste than squid and are milder than octopuses. Cuttlefish are also known for ink dyes, for example, to dye pasta. Shrimps, the representatives of crustaceans, are also sought-after. Characterized by tender and delicious meat, they are suitable for salads, spreads, pasta, Asian specialties, barbecues, and toasting. They can be simply seasoned with lemon juice or garlic, or their taste can be further enhanced with spices. Crustaceans, mollusks, and other seafood are extremely rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals and are nutritionally valuable. There is definitely no need to be afraid of consuming them.
In general, seafood (mainly fresh) should be prepared and consumed as soon as possible after purchase. It spoils very quickly and becomes unusable. It may be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature of about 5°C for two days tops, but in a freezer, if they are processed and well-packed beforehand, also for two months. Place the seafood from the freezer into the fridge the night before the preparation. You should inspect the meat carefully, check and leave only first-class pieces before storage. There are plenty of recipes so that everyone can choose. You can eat them as a main dish or combine them with other ingredients. Not everyone likes them. Sometimes people need more time to get familiar with the less-known species. Someone loves shrimps, for example, in salads, shrimp cocktails, or soup, and another munch on oysters or crabs. You can try a unique crab omelet or octopus in different styles, for example, octopus on wine. However, pizza with seafood or pasta is also sought-after. You can try seafood in sushi or risotto. Mussels taste great in different ways or typical Spanish paella. Worth trying are also grilled cuttlefish served with fresh lemon or Icelandic rejer, a shrimp salad with asparagus, pineapple, whipped cream, mayonnaise, and yogurt.
Squids stuffed with cheese and grilled vegetables (2 servings)
6 medium squids, Sao Miguel cheese/can also be used fresh cow-milk cheese, thyme, 1 clove of garlic, 1 zucchini, 1 eggplant, 1 tomato, 1 pepper, salt, pepper, and olive oil
Clean the squids, and remove the innards and the body tube. Separate the part behind the beak from the tentacles and pull it out. Remove the skin and fins from the squid and wash thoroughly again. Cut the peeled cheese into pieces to fit in the squid. Add salt and pepper. Close the open part of the squid with a toothpick so that the cheese does not leak during grilling. In the second pan, prepare the vegetables you have previously chopped into rings, heat the olive oil, add the vegetables, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper, and toast until soft. Meanwhile, the squids have been grilled until golden, drizzle them with lemon juice, and serve.
Text: Daniel Košťál, recipe: Zrodené v EÚ, photo: Daniel Košťá, Zrodené v EÚ, Plzenský Prazdroj Slovakia, LIDL