Seafood is, not surprisingly, enormously popular on Mallorca. There is a local fishing industry, but it’s small and demand is such that most fresh fish is imported, usually from Galicia. A classic Balearic dish is caldereta de llagosta, and originating from Fornells in the north of Menorca. It’s simple but stupendously rich and flavoursome spiny lobster stew, made with tomatoes and onions. The lobster for this dish is imported for most of the year, but if you order if from June to August you could be in luck and get a local creature: this is the legal fishing period, when you’ll see lobster traps in all the fishing ports.
Local fish (peix/pescados) include dolphin fish (llampuga/lampuga – a great-tasting seasonal fish with only a very short season from late August to October), sea bass (llop/lubina), sea bream (besuc/besugo), monkfish (rap/rape), grouper (anfós or nero/mero), gilthead bream (orada or daurada/dorada), and red scorpion fish (cap roig), which you’ll find served in a variety of ways, the most popular of which is simply a la plantxa/a la plancha (grilled on a hot metal plate), usually with a splash of olive oil, garlic and parsley. More elaborate methods include al forn/al horno (baked), which is usually confined to sea bass baked in salt. Other popular fish are anchovies (boquerónes/anchovas), sardines (sardinas or alatxas/sardinas or alachas), John Dory (gall/gallo de San Pedro) and red mullet (molls/salmonetes).
Octopus (pop/pulpo) is usually prepared Galician-style a la feria, lightly grilled and sprinkled with rock salt, oil and paprika and served on a wooden platter. Eels (anguiles), found in the S’Albufera marshes in northern Mallorca, are an island delicacy and pop up in a number of dishes, including greixonera d’anguiles (eel stew) and espinagada, an eel and spinach pasty-type delicacy from Sa Pobla. Mussels (musclos/mejillones) are usually al vapor (steamed) or marinera (in a light cream sauce). Crab (cranc/cangrejo) is not native, but is available in the more upmarket restaurants, as is lobster (llamàntol/bogavante). Cockles (escopinyes/berberechos) and clams (cloïsses/almejas) are also commonplace.
The most popular (and inexpensive) seafood is often squid (calamary/calamares), which comes a la romana (fried in batter), en su tinta (in its own ink) or farcits (stuffed), and prawns (gambes/gambas), which are cooked in a variety of ways – particularly al ajilla/ajo (in garlic) and a la plantxa. Also ubiquitous is sald cod (bacallà/bacalao), which, when served a la mallorquina, comes baked with layers of fried potatoes, tomatoes and swiss chard mixed with raisins, pine nuts, spring onions and olive oil.