Over the years, I have traveled for work and relaxation throughout Spain, and one of my top destinations is Galicia. It is a seafood lover’s gold mine, and probably best known to some as the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

Galicia ports are packed with a variety of shellfish and fish throughout the year. This month - unintentionally coinciding with our National Seafood Month - the Galicia Secretariat of Marine Affairs awarded 30 grants that support environmental sustainability - worth more than 4.1 million Euro - to seafood processing plants.

Simple, rustic and delicious

Most dishes in Galicia are prepared and served simply and rustically allowing the seafood to take center stage. In my opinion, there is one dish that is positively prize-worthy - Arroz con Mariscos! A mouth-watering flavored rice made with a variety of seafood and fish – unbelievably rich in flavor and deliciously creamy.

Basic Arroz con Mariscos recipe

Begin by heating seven cups of chicken stock in a large pot, and add 12 cleaned mussels and 12 clams. After covering the pot for a few minutes, remove the mussels as they open. Remove from heat after removing the clams, setting aside both the Clams And Mussels.

In a small bowl, add two tablespoons of all-purpose flour and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly flour ½ pound sea bass – cut into two pieces. In a frying pan ( on medium/high heat) and add 1/2 cup of annatto or canola oil (you will need one cup of either oil for the recipe). When the pan is hot add the bass and sear until golden brown. Remove the bass and set aside.

Next, add ½ cup cut calamari (cut into rounds) and cook for one minute, then set aside together with the sea bass, clams and mussels.

Then, add one pound shrimp to the pan (shrimp should be cleaned and the veins removed), together with two tablespoons of pepper paste and 1/4 cup of dark beer. Saute the shrimp until just cooked, and remove the shrimp from pan. Reduce the liquid ingredients to a light syrup and pour over the seafood. Set that aside.

Then, in a large deep pot, set to /high heat, add remaining ½ cup oil.

When the oil is hot add four cloves of minced garlic, and one large red onion – diced small. Cook until the onions and garlic become slightly brown – about eight to 10 minutes.

Then add the four cups of long grain white rice. Pour the prepared stock over it, stir then cover for 10 minutes.

Add the prepared seafood (that has been set aside), the remaining beer, and one cup of chopped cilantro leaves.

Mix once more and cook for about 25 minutes. You can prepare a sauce for the top or serve as is. Enjoy!