Sunday, September 18, 2005
Mediterranean food: Angulas/baby-eels with garlick-sauce ('all-i-oli' in Catalan) presented in 'La Gola'
What you see is one of the most appetizing & healthy dishes of Catalan Cooking !
The image shows on the foreground the most delicious food you can imagine. They are fresh 'angulas' or 'baby-eels', who made a long trip from the Sea of Sargasso to end in the estuary
of the Rio Ter in the Province of Girona in Catalonia / Spain. The whole process of fishing,
preparing before serving them on your plate is a fascinating novel of craftmanship as such.
On the left are the small ceramic plates with wooden forks, the best tools to enjoy this dish.
Never forget that enjoying Food in Spain is not functional in the sense of Modern Society.
Spanish people live to eat and drink, not the other way around. Time becomes then a relative concept. Family, good friends or anyone who happens to pass by is welcome to join a meal.
The celebration of a meal in Spain is a reunion in which everyone can and does express him- or herself. Daily matters as a cat that has broken his left front leg is as important as Juan who has fallen in love with beautiful Carmen and the other way around. Politics and soccer are permitted
Catalonia becomes a sad country when 'La Barça' is not doing well. The President of the bulwark of European and Catalan exquisite quality football is the Third Most Important man in Catalonia
Back to the ingredients on the table of famous Restaurant La Gola in Torroella de Montgrí
you see on your left-side the pot to make garlick-sauce or all-i-oli in the Catalan language.
The ingredienst for one of the most famous sauces in the Mediterranean are on the right side
of the table on a small plate: garlick and fresh olive-oil. They are the best you can eat for your heart and for keeping a balanced combined level of what is called 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol.
'There is nothing more healthy than a fresh toe of garlick' is a famous saying and a happily lived reality in this part of the world where many people live up to 80 years and more !
(My uncle Vicenç had just taken the bottle of fresh olive-oil to the kitchen. He needed it for the preparation of another Catalan dish: dry snails with all-i-oli and a tomatoe-sauce: delicious !).
A bit to the right you see two healthy tomatoes waiting to be put on the fresh farmers' bread.
If you want to know if somebody is a born Catalan, ask him to prepare 'pa amb tomaquet'.
She or he will almost and immediately start a gourmestistic kind of ritual that goes as follows:
A slice of fresh farmers' bread is slightly toasted until it is knispering and then smeared with fresh garlick. After that a tomatoe is cut in half and spread on the bread so the juice covers the whole slice. Then a bit of salt is put over it. On top of that all, a generous amount of soft olive-oil is poured and put over it. After this important finishing touch, the serving can start.
The artist that made this beauty breaks the delicious slice of bread in half and offers it to you.
Please, my dearest reader, never say no. Accept this finest of all typical appetizers in Catalonia.
But read the lines written above well. Tthe word fresh appears in this description very often as it forms the basis of all genuine Catalan cooking.
You see on the image also a bottle of Rioja-wine. Many years ago this wine is also internationally declared as being the best of the so many hundreds of brilliant wines of the Peninsula Ibérica
Any good red Spanish wine gives the finishing touch to this fine Catalan/Mediterranean dish.
Finally you see a plate with fresh mushrooms called girgoles in Catalan. In Dutch the name of this simple and very tasty type is 'Oesterzwammen' but I would not know the name in English.
Enjoy your meal and enjoy the rest of what is left of this sunny (I hope for you) Sunday !
As the Catalans say:
Bon profit !
Any question about Catalan cooking will be answered the best way I can...