Masterclass in Zamora

Mercedes González and her son Manuel Otero reveal the secrets of Galician octopus and seafood to caterers in the province of Zamora.

They are part of a family that has been involved with the sea since the beginning of the last century. In fact, Mercedes González’s grandmother and Manuel Otero’s great-grandmother dried octopus on wooden poles on the beach in Bueu at the beginning of the 20th century to export them to Japan and the United States. Mother and son have continued the business and continue to take the product from the Atlantic to all corners of the world. The octopus is the star, and they know the quality of the cephalopod in Russia, England, Germany, Greece, Italy and Portugal, as well as Japan and the United States, all of them already customers of their grandmother.

“Those who try Galician octopus will come back”, assures Mercedes González, who, since she and her husband started their own business, “Frigoríficos Rosa de los Vientos”, has kept the same customers with whom she started in 1990.

Together with her son, they gave a masterclass on Galician octopus and seafood to around fifty restaurateurs from Zamora and its province, as part of the regular gastronomic days held at the facilities of company Fidalgo Vecino on the Los Llanos industrial estate.

Manuel Otero cooked a four-kilo octopus brought from Galicia and gave guidelines on how to cook it as best as possible. “There are many ways to prepare it: with potatoes, a la feria, with rice, with beans or lentils, grilled, fried, in tempura or in empanadas (pasties). Octopus is a great accompaniment for many things”, he listed.

For Mercedes, the secret to a good octopus lies in its resting time. “The octopus is cooked and then, instead of removing it immediately from the water and the heat, it has to be left to rest there, for as long as it has been boiling. In this way, it finishes cooking, and the skin doesn’t fall off. Like all good things, it takes time. And there is no tastier octopus than that from Galicia”, she reiterates.

The professionals who attended the class not only had the opportunity to taste this delicacy, but also to sample a selection of seafood, another of Galicia’s most prized products, which Manuel Otero sends all over Spain from his company “O Percebeiro”, located in the fishing port of Marín.

Razor clams, spider crab, velvet crab, brown crab, clams, mussels and goose barnacles, “the King of seafood at Christmas”, are the most demanded products at this time of year. “It is at this time of year when consumption soars”, confesses Manuel, who is clear that good seafood is distinguished by its origin. “And Galicia is one of the best, after all, when God created the world, he had to rest and he did it in Galicia, thus forming the four estuaries”, he explains with a smile. For this reason, the value of Galician seafood is guaranteed, although he adds that the way it is caught “also has a great influence on its quality, because it is not the same when it is caught traditionally as when it is caught mechanically. You pay the difference, but it is worth it”, he concludes.

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