My favorite meal of 2014 was at Asador Etxebarri, near San Sebastian, on my honeymoon. The 25-year-old restaurant, where chef Victor Arguinzoniz cooks most ingredients over a magical wood grill, lived up to the hype. Their brazo burns grape and grape vines for beef, and oak for seafood and vegetables. The tasting menu featured plenty of highlights, but no dish better than Palamós Prawns, which Arguinzoniz sources from Spain’s Costa Brava.
The large prawns arrive in their red shells, cooked on the grill, where they’re kissed with oak smoke before being seasoned with olive oil and sea salt. The shrimp are naturally sweet and fluffy, and given the exquisite cooking process, were my favorite shrimp to date.
The setting merely magnified the effects of the prawns, with a mountain backdrop and a flock of sheep that ambled down the main street as the sun set on a drizzly day.