Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mercat De L'Olivar, Palma, Mallorca....

A visit to the local market is always high on my list of things to do when travelling. Even if I don't buy a thing, I find the market gives me an interesting perspective on how the local people live, and I almost always see something that I have never seen before. 

The Mercat De L'Olivar in Palma, Mallorca was no exception. It was large, clean and lively. The fish and seafood take up one building, and the produce, meats and cheeses are in another. I loved this statue in front of the Mercat De L'Olivar in Palma, it honors the women who work the farms and bring their products to the market each day.

All of the seafood looked very fresh and interesting, but some of the fish were so beautiful, I think I would rather have them {well, their images} on my wall than to eat them.

Well, occasionally, my mind did start racing with ideas about dredging things in a poof of flour and cornmeal, and frying them up in a bright and fruity local olive oil, with a sprinkling of sea salt, 

you understand.

For each of the products, a tag like this was on display, identifying the catch and the Zona de Captura {where it was caught}.

Many of the "Sepia" {octopus} were on display frozen solid.

In the middle of the market is a superb sushi bar, quite popular with discerning clientele.

How about sauteing some garlic in butter and olive oil with a few sprigs of thyme, then adding some white wine and a bag of these? Pass the pan, por favor.

I don't know how to prepare these Canaillas, maybe similar to how the French prepare escargot? I do know that if I brought some of these home I would keep a few of the shells for decorations.

Sardines were very prominent throughout the market. I had never seen them sold as a fillet like this. I am usually happy to enjoy them fried up au natural...but to be able to enjoy them without dealing with the bones and eyes? Perfection!

Gambas, prawns, shrimp, scampi, langostines and now cigalas..... these beautiful crustaceans were abundant throughout the market. I was trying to gain some clarification as to which name belongs to which critter, but I think I left more confused than ever!

I'm sure they are all more than marvelous simply served with some drawn butter.

Here was one thing I really did not want to buy. The lobsters were massive in size, and I am sure they would taste quite delicious. But seeing them displayed on ice, alive, angry eyes staring back at me....I completely lost my appetite {a most unusual experience for me}. If I did buy one, I think it would be to take it to the pier and drop it right back in the sea!

I must say the Percebe Gailegos had a similar affect. When I first saw these worm like creatures, I thought "I would need a whole lot of aioli to eat one of those". It turns out these odd looking "Goose barnacles" are quite a delicacy in Spain.

Harvesters risk their life and limbs to collect them from the granite rocks on the rough Galician coastline. The high price (more than twice as much as the langostines) reflects the rarity of these Star Wars like creatures.

To eat them, I've read, one pinches off that pointy top and somehow extracts the soft center, which is supposed to taste sweetly of the sea.

See? I learn something every market. If you want to learn more about these creatures, click on percebe to read a very interesting article about them from the New York Times.


The enchanted home said...

WHAT A MARKET!! I have the same reaction when looking at live lobsters as much as I love them!

Barbara@HausDesign said...

I also loved Palma but somehow I missed that market - it looks amazing!

eddieross said...

What an amazing place!! I'm sure you found so many unusual things there!! Looks like such a fun trip!
xo E + J

quintessence said...

So many odd looking fish! Not sure I could buy to cook but if served at a restaurant I'm sure they would be delicious!!

I Dream Of said...

Fascinating! What a gorgeous market. I'm with you, the markets are always a highlight for me when I travel. You always see something unexpected or learn something new. I think I would have won a staring contest with that Lobster, though!!!