Off the Table Spain: Prawns & Palamos in Catalonia

I had heard of the famed Palamos shrimp prior to filming Off the Table in Catalonia. Generally, they were referred to in reverent tones by chefs and enjoyed a legendary status amongst culinary enthusiasts.


Off the Table Spain: Prawns & Palamos in Catalonia

However, I had no idea of exactly what it entailed to bring this difficult catch to market. It was high time to find out, so I connected with Carlos and his crew, who graciously accepted me as an honorary member of their shrimping team for the day.

It’s no surprise that the three deckhands I accompanied with were tough, seasoned, no-nonsense fishermen. More surprising was how nurturing they were with me as a newbie, how eager to teach their craft and how generously they shared both their table and their lives.

Go There: Be a Fisherman for a Day

Palamos is located along Spain's Costa Brava, about an hour from Girona, and 90 minutes from Barcelona. 

Palamos shrimp (gambas de Palamos) are considered among the most flavorful crustaceans on earth.

This ‘Pescaturisme’ (fishing tourism) experience can be organized via the Fishing Museum of Palamós (website is in Spanish, Catalan and French – sorry, no English).

For more info, call: +34.972.600.424, or email: [email protected]

Note It

While this experience is immersive and unique, it's not for everyone. Not for the faint of heart, nor for late risers, nor for travelers in a hurry, nor for those with a need to be constantly in motion, and not for those with an aversion to being on the high seas for hours.

The day is long, conditions aboard are fairly basic, and the seas can be rough, depending on the day or hour.

Travelers who participate will join a genuine shrimp trawling crew for their full day on their normal schedule (approx. 6:00am - 5:00pm). Travelers are expected to obey the captain as if he were a commander – because aboard the boat, he is! And because this experience could be dangerous for those who don’t heed instructions.

Get ready to work. Get ready to chill. The bulk of the physical work for the crew takes place when they’re dropping their 1,000 meter lines into the ocean in the morning, and again when they pull those lines and sort the catch in the afternoon.

During those two times, it’s like watching linebackers perform a ballet – power, precision and plenty of movement. In between, there is lots of time to chill, write in your journal, admire the open sea, snooze, talk with the captain and crew and share lunch, which is cooked aboard by a member of the crew.

Recipe: Fisherman Fideos with Seafood


  • 300 gr. fideo pasta (very thin short pasta - breaking thin spaghetti into 2” length pieces also works as a back-up)
  • 200 gr. squid (cut into rings)
  • 6 large shrimp (unpeeled and head on)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 500 ml. fish broth
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 sm. can crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Salt, to taste


  • Heat olive oil in the base of a sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Peel and thinly slice the cloves of garlic and add to the sauté pan.
  • Chop the onion into thin strips.
  • When the garlic turns golden, add the chopped onion to the same sauté pan and brown both together over low heat.
  • in another sauté pan, heat olive oil over a medium flame and add the shrimp (head on and unpeeled).
  • Add the crushed tomatoes to the opinions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes over a low flame.
  • Cut the squid rings into small pieces.
  • Add the squid to the shrimp and cook over a low flame.
  • Incorporate the fish broth into the browned onions, garlic and olive oil.
  • Blend the the entire mixture (broth, onions, browned garlic and crushed tomato) in a blender until smooth.
  • Add to the cooking shrimp and squid and reduce for 5 minutes over low heat.
  • Once reduced 5 minutes, add the fideo pasta (or any very thin short pasta) to the shrimp, squid ‘broth’.
  • Cook 10 minutes (adjust the time to the type of pasta used).

Give It:

  • Plate and serve.
  • Share generously with friends and family.

Get It:

  • Cherish your newfound culinary rock-star status.
  • Enjoy the ensuing shower of love and admiration.

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