This week, we continue with our tapas series. After having a glance at the history and looking at such typical dishes as tortilla de patatas (Spanish Omelette) and chorizos a la sidra (Chorizo in cider), today it is time to talk a little bit about fish. Because, of course, it would be contradictory going to a city on the shores of the Mediterranean without at least sampling one seafood dish.
We start with a dish which is usually served as an inseparable companion to patatas bravas: Calamares a la romana (Squid Roman style). It is very simply squid cut into rings (obviously after having been cleaned before), rolled in batter and fried in very hot oil. It is typical to serve them with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the squid to your taste. It is such a typical dish that, as well as in bars, it is possible to buy ready-prepared frozen squid from the supermarket for frying at home. Equally, this avoids the tedious task of cleaning and chopping it.
This dish is not exclusively from the Mediterranean: in other coastal countries squid is prepared in a similar manner but accompanied with traditional and popular sauces according to the specific region. It is a dish which is open to a lot of variation, ranging from sweet to spicy (in Mexico, for example, it is usually eaten with Tabasco, an extremely hot sauce).
The next dish that we are going to look at also has a large number of variants and is eaten in many parts of the Iberian peninsula, or at least the parts which have a coast. It is called pescado frito (fried fish), pescaito frito in Andalusia, and it could be said that it is the indisputable king of tapas in this region.
There isn’t a specific type of fish for this dish but it is recommended that you use a small fish without too many bones, like whitebait, red mullet or sardines. Sometimes fish of a larger size can be used like small hake or mackerel when cut into pieces before frying.
Pescado frito is created by rolling the fish in flour, frying it in olive oil and sprinkling it with salt as the only condiment. Contrary to the squid, which is sometimes served being fried some time before, pescado frito is normally served hot, recently fried. This dish is incredibly versatile, in such a way that you can serve it as an aperitif, as a starter or as part of a main course (depending on the quantity of the fish used, the portion can be very filling).
You can serve it accompanied with a lemon wedge so that the diners, according to their taste, can squeeze it over the fish. It is said that the Romans ate this dish in Ancient Rome and now to this day, it is very typical to see it eaten in many coastal regions of Spain.
On this note, we will leave you until the next article in which we will finish this glance at the fascinating world of tapas! See you next time!