I've been thinking about the food we ate in Galicia . . .
In Pontevedra, behind the Saturday morning clothes market near the river, we ate octopus that had been boiled in a giant cauldron, snipped up with scissors and drizzled with olive oil. Simple but very good.
One evening we sat in one of the dark shadowy squares, drank the local beer and ate plates of tapas – including this sculptural pile of razor clams.
We took the bus to O Grove, once an island – now joined to the mainland by a sandy isthmus, to go to the famous Seafood Festival. It was it's 47th year, so the organisers have cracked the art of serving thousands! The system works well – you pick up a list of stalls, wander round ticking the things you fancy eating, take your list to a large raised dais with girls with computers and tills like a bank and pay for your selection in return for vouchers, then at leisure you take the vouchers to the stalls and swap for plates of freshly prepared seafood . . . brilliant.
Oh, and you eat the seafood with bread washed down with wine, while standing up at high wooden tables, to the accompaniment of the Gallician bagpipes . . . here's a flavour of that heady mix . . .
Back home, sadly we don't have easy access to fresh seafood, but there was another Galician staple that inspired me to cook a simple peasant dish – Caldo Gallego.
I drove to the next village to visit my favourite local butcher . . .
He'd put aside one of the key ingredients – trotters, four for £1. I asked him to split them so all the goodness would cook out and make a delicious jellied stock flavoured with vegetables, herbs and garlic.
Instead of chickpeas I soaked some of my home grown Poletschka beans and added then to the boiling stockpot.
I poured off two litres of the stock to use to make soup at the weekend and removed three of the trotters before adding diced potato, shredded cabbage and chopped chorizo to the pot. I adjusted the seasoning and added a sprinkling of hot smoked paprika (a great holiday purchase).
Tonight's supper – my version of Caldo Gallego – simple, cheap and delicious :-)
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