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Spanish Fried Fish

Spanish Fried Fish is a traditional favourite from Cadiz in Spain. In fact, this is believed to be the best fried fish in the world. A variety of fish including dogfish, cuttlefish and fish roe are fried. The location of Cadiz, on the southern coast of Spain and that of surrounding coastal cities (Malaga and Seville) explain why fish is such a preferred food in these areas. It is also quite inexpensive and is highly recommended to those who visit these provinces of Andalusia. Spanish fried fish is also referred to as Andalusian fried fish. In the Spanish language it is “Fritura Andaluza” or “Peskado Frito” and is a popular offering not only in the South but in restaurants all across Spain.

Ingredients and Preparation

Very basic ingredients are needed - Fish as per choice or usually an assortment of fish served on a platter consisting of - A moderate sized slice of fresh hake fish, few peeled prawns, few fresh anchovies (per person), flour, olive oil, salt, lemon juice. Cleaned fish is dried and coated with flour. In a wok, sufficient oil is heated before carefully floating the fish into it in such a way that oil must cover the fish. Once the fish is golden after turning on both sides, it is drained on a paper towel, plated, sprinkled with salt and served with fresh cut lemon wedges. All fish varieties are deep-fried in a similar manner.

Characteristic Features of the Spanish Fried Fish Recipe

1. Use of two ingredients very basic to Spanish cuisine – fresh fish and fresh olive oil only with no other flavouring agents. This is primarily to ascertain that the original taste of the fish is not obscured.

2. High temperature deep frying of fresh fish in hot virgin olive oil for just a few seconds producing an excellent crisp golden fried exterior with soft melt-in the mouth texture of the fish.

3. The thin layer of flour coating on the fish forms a sort of crust that prevents the fish itself from becoming greasy but allows for heat penetration providing the taste, texture and aroma this dish is so famous for.

4. Oil used is changed frequently to avoid intermixing of flavours.

Nutritive Value

From the Nutritional point of view, deep frying may not be the ideal method of cooking fish as it leads to a higher degree of fat absorption. Healthier cooking methods are preferred such as grilling, steaming, baking, roasting etc which involve much less oil. On an average, a serving of deep fried fish of ~ 3 ounces (about 85 g) would deliver:

• 211.7 calories with 100.8 calories from fat

• Total Fat content is 11.2 g with 2.6 g saturated fat

• Cholesterol content is 31 mg

• Sodium content is 484 mg and Potassium 505.2 mg

• Total carbohydrate content is 15.4 g with dietary fibre content of 0.5 g and 0 g sugars.

• Protein content is 13.6 g.

• Estimated % of calorie from fat is 46.8 %, from carbohydrates is 28.6 % and from proteins is 24.7 %.

Fish is considered one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, the unsaturated fats that help cut down the bad or LDL cholesterol, promoting healthy cardiac function. These fats also play vital roles in vision, brain health and maintenance of nerve tissues apart from offering protection in arthritis and skin problems. Hence regular fish intake is recommended even by the American Dietetic association, however in keeping with a healthy lifestyle, fried fish must be consumed in moderation.

Suggested Accompaniment

Hot fried fish tastes best when serve with a chilled Andalusian or Spanish white wine like Barbadilla, and along with a red pepper and fresh mixed greens salad.

Best Place to Buy

Frideria Las Flores, the famous restaurant at Plaza Topete (also known as Plaza de los Flores) situated in Cadiz, Spain.