WARNING: Malaga’s Atarazanas market will EXPLODE your sensory perception

 Fruit and veg in Atarazanas market, Malaga

I’m a HUGE fan of food markets.  They are something I seek out, wherever I am in the world – from Barcelona’s Boqueria and Melbourne’s Queen Victoria to local street-markets in Cambodia and Thailand, I’ve visited them all.  So, a trip around Malaga’s Mercado Central de Atarazanas is always a pleasure, every time I’m in Malaga city, as well as featuring high on the list of places to take visitors to.

The Moorish arched entrance blends seamlessly with 19th century industrial design and the huge, colourful stained-glass window, to create not only a beautiful back drop but also to tell the history of the origins of this bustling market-place.


Stained glass window of Atarazanas market, Malaga

Set near the heart of the city, Atarazanas has undergone many transformations since it was originally built in the 14th century as a shipyard, when the waves of the Mediterranean Sea lapped at its entrance.  Over the years, changes have seen the building used as a convent, military arsenal, hospital and medical school before finally being demolished in 1868 and re-built using the current iron structure, as the city food market, in 1879.  Further renovation took place from 2008 to 2010, when Málaga’s Atarazanas market was once again restored to its former glory.

Wild mushrooms for sale in Atarazanas market, Malaga

You might not expect to be given a warning when you visit a city food market, but as you walk through the main entrance, which is the only remaining marble archway of what was once a seven-arched shipyard, I can guarantee your senses will explode!

Taste, sight, smell, hearing and touch – the clean interior of Mercado Central de Atarazanas has it all, from pig’s ears to pink Himalayan salt!

The market is structured into three navesfish, meat and fruit and vegetables, and with more than 250 stalls there is surely something to tickle your tastebuds.

Fresh fish for sale in Atarazanas market

As you wander around, take in the dazzling displays of freshly-caught fish with their scarlet gills and scales glistening under the spotlights.   Marvel at the kaleidoscope of colours in the artistically displayed fresh fruit and vegetables that smell like they’ve been picked only that morning.  And savour the counters of aromatic cheeses, spices, bread, olives, dried fruits, nuts, sausages and hams, where the stall-holders are usually happy to let you taste before you buy.

Fresh seafood for sale in Atarazanas market

A cacophony of sound fills the market, as the competing stall-holders call out to prospective customers and in turn are interrogated by discerning shoppers, eager to discover where the produce is from and how it should be prepared.

I love to watch the locals, who are not only trying to buy the freshest seasonal produce but also socializing with their neighbours as they block the aisles with their roller-trollies, discussing the latest gossip.

Shopping is a much more personal experience in Atarazanas market and, with so many stalls to choose from, cheaper than most supermarkets, too.

Tapas of skewered tuna and prawns

If you have time and are ready for some lunch after feasting your senses on all the wonderful produce, then make your way to one of the tapas bars at either end of the market, El Yerno or Cafe-Bar Atarazanas – they are both equally good.  Stand near to the bar and you will soon be noticed by one of the staff who will make a space for you.  It’s standing room only and always crowded, but well worth it to taste the freshly-cooked, mouth-watering pinchos de gambas, atun o cerdo (skewered prawns, tuna or seasoned pork), boquerones al limón (deep-fried whitebait with lemon) or frito de verduras (tempura-battered vegetables), which you can wash down with a caña (small beer) or vino tinto (red wine).

Tapas of freshly cooked mushrooms

Whether you are a foodie visiting Málaga or a local living nearby,  you won’t want to miss a visit to this authentic food market.

Where is YOUR favourite food market?

 

Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Calle Atarazanas 10
Malaga

Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 2pm.

 

 

Summer Sunshine Salad

Sunshine salad

It’s that time of year when it’s often too hot to eat anything heavy, so this lovely salad not only looks good, but is quick to prepare and really tasty, too.

SUMMER SUNSHINE SALAD

As with most of my recipes,  feel free to use more of the ingredients that you like, and substitute the ones you don’t.

Put three eggs in their shells into a pan of water and bring to the boil.  Allow the eggs to boil for 5-6 minutes, then plunge the boiled eggs into cold water.  Once they are completely cool, remove them from their shells and cut into quarters.

Whilst the eggs are boiling, chop some carrot, red pepper, green pepper and red onion into small pieces.  Place all the ingredients into a dish and add salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice, to your taste.  Mix together.

I also added some freshly chopped coriander or cilantro (though you could just as easily use flat-leaf parsley if you prefer), a small jar of ready-prepared red kidney beans and a tin of  tuna.

All I had to do then was arrange my boiled eggs in a circle to complete my Summer Sunshine Salad.  :)

Serve with crusty bread and a glass of chilled, white wine.

What could be nicer on a hot summer’s day?

 

 

Salmon fillet with a zingy coconut and coriander crust and leeky mash

 

 

Salmon with a zingy coconut and coriander crust

Now that summer’s here, I’m always looking for fresh and inventive ways to tickle the old taste buds.  So, I came up with a delicious twist on a seasoned favourite.

I’ve noticed recently that in the cool-display near to the fresh fish counter at Spanish supermarket, Mercadona,  they now have what they call “Plancha de Salmon, sin espinas”  – larger pieces of salmon fillet (without bones), usually weighing around one kilo.  At €12.50 per kilo, it’s not only a saving of a few euros over the smaller pieces, but no fish bones to contend with either.  Result!

Salmon without bones, for sale in Mercadona

I cut the salmon into portions, sprinkled some lemon juice over them, and put them onto a plate in the microwave on a low setting for a few minutes, until they were well on the way to being ready.

In the meantime, after peeling some potatoes to make the mash, I put them on to boil and, in a separate pan, gently fried some leeks in butter – until they had just softened.

Home-grown red chilli peppers

For the zingy topping, I didn’t want to use breadcrumbs so I mixed together some grated coconut (coco rallado), finely chopped one of these lovely little chilli peppers I grew in the garden last summer (which has been in the freezer ever since), half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, a dessertspoon of mayonnaise, freshly-chopped coriander (cilantro) straight from the herb garden, a twist of black pepper and enough milk to ease the mixture so it was spreadable.

All I had to do then was carefully transfer the salmon fillets onto a baking tray, spread the zingy topping mixture over the salmon and pop them under a medium grill.

Adding the leeks to the mashed potato

Whilst keeping an eye on the salmon, I mashed the potatoes and added a little milk and butter then gently stirred in the softened leeks.

After three or four minutes, the crust on the salmon was just starting to brown nicely, so it was time to serve the leeky mash into bowls and drape the salmon artistically on top! 

Salmon fillet with a zingy coconut and coriander crust

This crust topping will work equally well on any white fish or chicken.

Why not give it a try? Let me know how you get on, won’t you?

 

 

Following the tapas route around Torre del Mar

Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

From 1st May until 1st June, Torre del Mar is hosting the third “La Ruta de la Tapa” (Tapas route) around the town.  With 24 establishments taking part, and a drink plus tapa for only 2 euros, it’s a great way of trying out some new places to eat.

Here’s how to join in the fun!

  • Choose one of the bars and restaurants taking part, and when you go in mention that you are taking part in La Ruta de la Tapa.  You will be served with a specially prepared, gourmet tapa and offered a choice of drink.
  • Ask for a Tapas Route Passport and have them stamp it.
  • Each establishment is numbered and shown on the map on the back of the Passport.   Follow the route around Torre del Mar.
  • Make sure to get a stamp in your Tapas passport for each new place you visit and eat one of the special tapa.
  • When you’ve visited all 24 establishments, hand in your completed and stamped passport for a chance to win 300 euros!

Here are some of the tasty (and not so tasty) tapas I’ve enjoyed so far this month:

Vintash - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

This is “Bacalao en tres textures con muselina de alioli”  which is a cod-fish tapa from Vintash, Avda. Andalucia esquina con C/Bateria (and one of my favourites, so far!)

Las Yuccas, Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

Next is “Volován con morcilla de Burgos, queso de cabra y piruleta de chocolate blanco con chorizo”,  a black pudding dish with a white chocolate lollipop from Las Yucas, Avda. Andalucia 64, dup. (Yes, another favourite).

Bar Centro - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

Café Bar Centro, Calle del Mar 25, offered delicious Spanish ham with “Coca de pan de cristal con Ibérico”.

Brujas - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

The tapa at Brujas, Paseo Maritimo, Ed. California IV bajos, is “Redondo de verdura, queso y salsa de arandanos” – delicious vegetables, goat cheese and cranberries  (and yet another of my personal favourites!)

20 de Tapas - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

“Delicias de primavera” is Spring-time on a plate at 20 de Tapas at Avda. Toré Toré.

Mi Mundo - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

“Mini brochetas de polo braseado con salsa Tikka Masala y patatas artisanas” is a delicious chicken curry dish from Mi Mundo, Avda. Toré Toré 16.

A Lareira - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

“Roll relleno de pollo y setas silvestres, con reducción de vino de Málaga y virutas de foie” is another tasty chicken dish from A Lareira, Calle Pasillo Batería, 7.

Casa Andrés - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

“Brocheta marinera con verduras en tempura y mahonesa de marisco” , is a delicious fish-skewered tapa from Casa Andrés, Paseo de Larios 36.

El Rincón de Paco - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

And last and, in my opinion, very much the least, is “Bacalao Rincón de Paco” offered by El Rincón de Paco (Number 11 on the tapas route) on Paseo Maritimo.  On paper it should have been OK (cod), but it was drizzled in loads of unidentifiable sweet stuff, and what the bright pink and green things were, I don’t know!   I left my glass of red wine (vino tinto)  which tasted like vinegar – so all in all they will be getting 0/5  **Shudder**

 

So, these are the bars and restaurants I have visited so far on La Ruta de la Tapa in Torre del Mar, but I’ve lots more places to visit before June 1st.   Wish me luck!  

Which of these tapas would you like to try?  Or, if you are in La Axarquía and joining in – which is YOUR favourite tapa?

 

FYI … there is a similar Ruta de la Tapa going on in Nerja during May, too.  Click HERE for information :)