Nowhere in Spain (other than at our eco-friendly inn in Asturias) was it easy to be a vegetarian. Except for Andalusian gazpacho and cheese plates (which were both delicious), almost everything else comes with some sort of meat or fish, or the sauce or broth is made with a meat or fish stock. Salads are no exceptions. "Ensalada mixto" alway had tuna fish. This avacodo salad had shrimps crawling out of it, and was topped with a shrimp sauce.
In Spain, "vegetarian" often means vegetables and seafood, so be careful if you ask whether something is vegetarian. Spain's unacceptance of vegetarian options was confusing to me, given that the country is so far advanced in conserving energy and reducing the carbon footprint on so many fronts.
Here's my issue with seafood - let's start with this shrimp salad in the picture. For every pound of shrimp caught in the sea, 4 pounds of by-catch - other living creatures - are caught in the nets, discarded and left to die. Most fish species are overfished. The world's out of control over-population and huge demand these days for seafood as a "healthier option" is leading more and more species into distinction. Even the merluza I would eat in Spain (because one cannot live on Andalucian gazpacho alone), and unbeknownst to me when I was in Spain, is often caught by poachers. Unfortunately, many countries have been slow to accept fishing restrictions, and even slower in informing the public about sustainable fishing. It is hard to know for sure when you order fish whether that particular fish was caught using sustainable fishing methods. I finally got myself out of the quandary several years ago and stopped eating fish altogether, and didn't suffer for it in the least.
- Food and Dining