The lunch special at Reposado (elegant Mexican in Palo Alto) on the 28th was billed as the seafood dish mariscada: some white rice in the middle of a plate, heaped with bits of seafood of many kinds (shrimp, mussels, lobster, and more) with some wonderful broth to keep it all from being too dry, enough to bring it close to being classifiable as a seafood stew, which is the label given to mariscada in many sources. Just fabulous. Here’s a version that’s clearly in stew territory:


Paraphrasing the article in Spanish Wikipedia:

A seafood [mariscos] stew, common in coastal cuisine of Galicia, also in other areas of the Spanish coast. Common ingredients: include crab, velvet crab, barnacles, shrimp, and lobster.

And from the Portuguese Diner site:

Mariscada is an Atlantic Seafood inspiration based on rice and very popular along coastal Portugal. The dish often has lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, as well as cuttlefish and is seasoned with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and Portuguese paprika.

If you’re in Spain, it’s Spanish; if you’re in Portugal, it’s Portuguese. Surely it’s another dish in the family of seafood stews prepared in fishing communities along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts (more on this below), and it would be fruitless to try to pin down its ultimate source.

Meanwhile, from Spain and Portugal the dish (in several variants) made its way to Latin America, notably to Brazil, Mexico, and El Salvador.

It’s clear that the dish is sometimes served piled up, seafood salad-fashion, on a platter, as in this photo of a mariscada from the Mexican state of Sinaloa:


And sometimes it’s clearly made as a seafood-rice stew. And sometime it’s frankly prepared (and labeled) as a soup.

We’ve been down this path before, again from Reposado. On last November 14th, I posted on “cioppino, sopa de mariscos”:

Yesterday’s lunch special at the Mexican restaurant Reposado was billed as cioppino, though it was recognizably a Mexican-style sopa de mariscos ‘seafood soup’. Meanwhile, cioppino is standardly described as a fish stew (as in the Wikipedia article on the dish), though it too is a seafood soup, essentially a clear tomato soup with a whole lot of seafood (including fish) in it.

… Cioppino is a San Francisco dish (so it’s no surprise that sopa de mariscos would be billed as cioppino in a Bay Area restaurant), but its roots lie in Italy; the sopas / estofados / caldos de mariscos of Latin America, Mexico included, have their roots in Spain; so both originate in the fish soups and stews of the maritime Mediterranean, from Greece and Italy to France and Spain, which vary locally but share a family resemblance.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: