Pescado frito (literally, “fried fish”), or Pescaíto frito (Andalusian dialect), is a traditional dish from the Southern coasts of Spain, typical in Andalusia, but also found in Catalonia, Valencia, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. It is also consumed as a delicacy in inland Spain, being very common in the inland Andalusian provinces of Seville and Cordoba. It is also very common throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Provence (France), Roussillon (France) and in the coastal regions of Italy where the most common variant using salt cod fillets is known as filetto di baccalà, and Greece. It was also eaten by the Romans in ancient Rome.
It is made by coating the fish (blue or white fish) in flour and deep fried in olive oil then sprinkled with salt as the only seasoning. It is usually served hot, freshly fried, and can be eaten as an appetiser (for example with a beer or wine), or as a starter or main course. Usually, it is served with fresh lemon, which is squeezed over the fish or occasionally in “escabeche” (a vinegar marinade/souse).
It is also a traditional Shabbat fish dish (usually cod) originating amongst the 16th century Andalusian Jews of Spain and Portugal. The deep-frying of the fish in vegetable oil makes it crisp and light even when eaten cold, and it is a favourite dish of the late breakfast or lunch after synagogue services on Saturday morning.
There is a general belief that pescado frito was possibly an inspiration for the English fish and chips.
- 4 small sea bass or grouper (225 g each) scaled, gilled and gutted
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 1 cup oil, for frying
- coarse sea salt
- Score fish 3 or 4 times diagonally on both sides. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Sprinkle each fish with a pinch of pepper and salt. Rub each fish with the salt and pepper, making sure it gets into the cuts.
- In a frying pot heat the oil. Deep-fry until golden brown on both sides.
- Place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Serve with tostones and garnish with the lime wedges and salt on the side.