Hola. Fresh, simply prepared seafood cannot be outshined. There are no flavors that just melt in your mouth and down into your soul like decadent, hot and naturally salty shellfish. All of the tastes of the ocean and a delicate meat and another flavor that is unlike anything else–I’m talking about shrimp-brain-guts–come together in a dish like gambas a la plancha to make a truly luxurious flavor. I first had gambas a la plancha back in New York City, but it wasn’t until I found myself in Barcelona at the end of last summer that I embarked on what could only be described as a full-blown fiend-ly gambas rampage. Barcelona was home to some of the best seafood I’ve ever eaten. We ate mussels and razor clams, calamari, you name it. But the best meal we had was gambas a la plancha at a place called La Galera, tucked away on a tiny hidden street in the Barri Gòtic. To this day I speculate that there was the ever-so-slightest splash of truffle oil in the gambas, which were otherwise served as usual; with a fresh herb salsa and lots of lemon and sea salt, olive oil and a crack of black pepper. There’s no other way to describe the way that those gambas tasted, and I can imagine how the umami notes in the gambas’ shells and heads could be amplified with a touch of truffle. Perhaps that’s the secret. But there’s a second secret, and that’s listed with the recipe below my travel photos.
I wanted to include some other shots from that trip, just because I never shared them. We started way north in Puigcerda, made our way to Barcelona, and down the coast of Spain, stopping in Salou (where I am the reigning bumper car World Champion, as least as far as Anthony and I are concerned), down to San Carlos de la Rapita, Valencia, Morella (a gorgeous town within castle walls on top of a mountain), and a tiny little no-man’s town where we found a random festival with good sausage and tiny horses. Here’s a few memories: