Mollusc or crustacean shellfish are presented as one of the luxuries of our gastronomy, so much so that it can be said that Spain is the shellfish paradise. Taken from the sea and rivers, this food item has always been one of the most important in the human diet.
Although most of the Spanish shellfish comes from Galician waters, high quality products can also be found in other seas around our country. Therefore, Galicia offers baby crab, in which the females stand out for their quality; oysters from Arcade, which are eaten raw; goose barnacles, whose quality can be seen at a glance whenever they are thick and of a small size, not to mention the scallops, cockles, octopus, mussels (also present in the waters of the Region of Valencia, although smaller in size) and the clams from Carril, from the River Arosa, which proudly enjoy the reputation of being the most wanted.
The Galician lobster and the spider crab from the Bay of Biscay are scarce but exquisite delicacies, along with the crayfish, from the lobster family.
If we travel slightly eastwards, we come to Asturias. Its waters offer us such highly valued shellfish as baby crabs or crabs, sea urchins and limpets, whereas we get the best oysters from Cantabria.
The south of Spain is equally impressive when it comes to shellfish. Although shrimps are caught in all of our seas, those from the coast of Almeria and Granada are particularly worthy of mention. Furthermore, the red prawns from Denia, Palamós and Garrucha are exceptional as are the white prawns from Huelva. The best king prawns can be found in Sanlúcar, closely followed by Vinaróz. In Andalusia, the sea nettles or sea anemone is considered to be an exquisite shellfish.
The difference between freshwater and salt water must be taken into account, as not all shellfish live in the sea. This is the case of river crabs although nowadays, they are more difficult to find compared with sea crabs, one of the most popular shellfish in the Spanish gastronomy, which are taken from the rocks at low tide.
Finally, we have the much appreciated sea lobster from the Bay of Biscay, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and the Costa Brava.