When you live next to the ocean, a lot of seafood ends up on your plate. Bought fresh that day from the man at the market with the thick hands and warm smile who carefully wraps them up and seals the paper shut with tape. Deep fried sardines that are picked apart with clumsy fingers that stop being so clumsy after they get used to the small bodies and tiny spines in the middle. A pile of discarded heads and tails growing along the edge of the plate, salt and olive oil coating fingers that get unapologetically stuck in your mouth because this is fun eating and napkins just slow the process down. The six year old works her way methodically through the ones on her plate, brow furrowed in concentration at the spines she insists she’s old enough to discard herself. Pink and silver backed salmon, dropped on the hot pan, the sizzle counting out the few minutes required until it’s no longer translucent in the middle. Fried onions, sliced thick, a minute on each side, a little crunchy, go on top with lemon juice generously squeezed in a tight fist over top. There’s cod, with the bones painstakingly picked out before being eaten, salty. So much salt. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s a nature thing. We remind ourselves of this before we forget that we need to remind ourselves of anything.
There’s squid, sliced in rounds and slightly rubbery, grilled and slightly chewy. Doused in lemon because this is seafood we’re talking about and this is a two peas in a pod situation where you just know, you know? There’s octopus, dipped in flour and salt (again, the salt,but we’ve talked about this, right?) and deep fried, hot and you might need to blow on it and the little tentacles look slightly funny but it’s good. It’s ‘summer in the afternoon, sitting next to the ocean with this tinto de verano keeping me company and you really don’t need to talk because there’s the sound of crashing waves and seagulls and that’s enough’ good. It’s simple and I’m always here for simple and vegetables, don’t forget the vegetables, the fresh tomatoes and onions (we had red onions and I might have had a moment there with my eyes closed because red onions you guys. It’s sweet and crunchy and when added to grated carrots and lettuce and large slices of cucumbers this is salad magic.) and there’s olive oil (do you get the sense of a theme here?) and pepper on top. This is good, all of it. It’s good food and good sun and there’s a beach and an ocean asking you to come play in it for awhile, even if it’s mighty cold and your breath gets stolen at the cold but it promises that, if you just press on and dive under, it’ll warm up and you’ll be covered in sea water and salt and, afterwards, lay down and dry out in the sun and now you and that fish have something in common, a big ol’ circle, wrapping you all up.
Things I’m Loving:
+ Oddly satisfying – (Almost relaxing, really.)
+ More summer reading – (I, apparently, can’t be stopped.)
+ 29 travel experiences – (If you’re looking for inspiration.)
+ A DIY cafe sign – (Obviously this is a thing I must have/make.)