Fried fish assortments
This gastronomic specialty from Andalusia combines the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet with the pleasure of relishing the flavour of great sea fish. The fried fish assortment is the extraordinary result of dipping very fresh fish in hot, clean, virgin olive oil. It barely touches the oil, only a few seconds, and the result is excellent. The most popular ones are to be found in the provinces of Malaga, Seville and Cadiz, although you can also sample them elsewhere in Spain.
Fried fish assortments are one of Spain's typical gastronomic delights, and they are achieved by combining two basic products used in Spanish cooking, olive oil and fresh fish, to produce a delicious dish where the taste of the fish is never obscured.
The moist, fresh fish is coated with a thin layer of flour. This layer forms a crust that avoids the fish getting greasy, but allows the heat to penetrate, giving the exact taste, aroma and texture this dish is known for.
The star of the fried fish assortments in Malaga is the anchovy, but we cannot forget prawns, puntillitas (small squid) and small red mullet which complete the speciality. Another well known speciality, made with only one kind of fish, is boquerones victorianos, small anchovies joined in fives by the tail, imitating the fingers of a wide-open hand -like a friendly wave or a fan-, and concentrating the unmistakable taste of Mediterranean cuisine.
The fried fish assortment found in Seville is mainly made up of plaice, cuttlefish and marinated dogfish. It is more exclusive and demanding diners prefer to stick to these three kinds of fish Although it is cooked in the same way, bigger pieces are fried, giving a tastier result according to those who prefer this assortment. In Seville you will also find paper cones called cartuchos de pescado that contain thin slices of crisp, tasty hake.
Fresh fish and virgin olive oil
As for the Cadiz assortment, the main ingredient is marinated dogfish, normally accompanied by puntillitas, anchovies, hake, red mullet and plaice. Normally a few slices of lemon are served with the dish, but this is not usual in Malaga or Seville. Another similar speciality is "tortillitas de camarones", tiny crustaceans mixed with a dough of wheat flour which is then fried.
Varieties of these three specialities can be found anywhere in Andalusia or in specialized bars throughout Spain. What these dishes have in common is that they must always be made with very fresh fish and virgin olive oil, changed frequently to avoid the mixing of tastes.
Sweet wines or sherries such as fino , manzanilla, amontillado and dry oloroso are a great choice for this dish. Should you prefer lighter wines, we suggest white or sparkling.
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