The Freshest Seafood

5 Jul

This past week, I interned at a restaurant called d’Berto, in O Grove, Pontevedra, Galicia.  This restaurant advertises as specializing in giant fish, and that they do.  During my time at d’Berto, I learned various preparations for grouper, bogavantes (giant lobsters), centollos (giant crabs), rubio, turbot, hake, octopus, clams, cockles, zamburiñas (variegated scallop), red mullet, sardines, percebes, razor clams, and more.  Obviously, some of the seafood was smaller, but seriously, a lot of these fish were big.

me, holding a whole hake

It is important to hold the hake by its eyes so these teeth don’t own your fingers:

hake

In the end, the preparations were all very simple, but the fact that the seafood was fresh every day, obviously, makes a huge difference.  For example, simply throwing a giant fillet (bone in) of grouper into a wood burning oven with a bunch of sea salt results in something divine.  The flavor of the burning wood makes for a rustic dish, and the meaty grouper is perfect, covered with its crispy skin…

grouper a la brasa

Furthermore, a whole fish cooked simply with garlic, white wine, and, essentially, potato chips, was incredible.  The fish bones and all the parts left on a whole fish really add character (juiciness, texture, flavor) that is absent in normal fillets.

whole fish cooked in the oven with "potato chips" for lack of a diff description

In addition, all of the seafood cooked a la plancha, simply with salt and olive oil, were exceptional.  Even though I had to kill a few cigalas (giant langostines) along the way, they were delicious, so it didn’t really matter.  They died valiantly, squirming on the plancha, along with the bogavantes.  Fish fillets, like the delicious turbot, were also great a la plancha, where they got crispy and browned.

As far as accompaniments go, most of the fish came with fried potatoes and peppers and onions, cooked until soft, in oil.  Sometimes rice was present, but the fish and seafood mostly spoke for themselves.  For example, we always served the crab hacked into pieces, but we also put out its shell, full of delicious crab innards.

While I was there, I tried a good amount of the restaurant’s offerings, and I loved the giant crab, deep fried fresh sardines, cockles, hake, and grouper.  Everything in the kitchen was deftly run by cook Marisol Dominguez, who has been working at d’Berto for the past 20 years.  Her brother, Berto, owns the restaurant, and the two unite to make a welcoming and delicious experience for the guests every day (except Tuesday, the day it is closed).

d'berto restaurant

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3 Responses to “The Freshest Seafood”

  1. Brian July 6, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    Wow, Shaina, you look so tiny compared to that hake! (plus that apron is bigger than you are…) Will you be smelling like fish when you get back?

    • getinmebelly July 26, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

      I think I’ve de-fished myself, but yeah, it was a giant fish. For me.

  2. marilyn bogdanffy July 6, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    I’m salivating.

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