05 Jul The three usual fish of the ‘bullit de peix’
In the past, fishermen prepared the ‘bullit de peix’ with small varieties, with a lot of thorn, which had a worse outlet in the market than large fish, although they were just as tasty. It was a dish that still had little presence in restaurants. Over time, however, its elaboration became popular, using large cut varieties, which make it easier for the diner to taste. The three most popular are the grouper, the St. Peter’s rooster and the red scorpionfish. They are the ones we usually use in Es Torrent.
There is a Spanish proverb that says, “From the sea the grouper and from the earth the lamb.” Although there are many tasty fish, grouper continues to be the star, for the texture of its meat and the intense flavor. We usually get pieces from a kilo to the restaurant, but they can live 50 years, measure one and a half meters and weigh more than 50 kilos. In fact, more than 100 specimens have been caught in the Mediterranean. In Ibiza it is the most sought after variety in the markets and is usually sold out from the first hour. The fish caught on the island is distributed under the guarantee brand Peix Nostrum, with the characteristic yellow-green label.
Like all marine species of regular consumption, John Dory has many different names. Among them, Peter’s fish or Saint Pierre. In any case, there is no fish with as many mythological reminiscences as this one. His Latin name is Zeus faber, as the Greek god. However, the nomenclature we use in Ibiza, cock, obeys to the spines of the dorsal fin, which look like a crest. It is a very flat fish, which is why its slices are elongated. They are recognized by their fine gray skin. It is a semi-fatty species, which inhabits both rocky bottoms and sandy and posidonia meadows.
The red scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa) is one of the tastiest fish in Ibiza. Many fishermen have felt the effects of their poison by pricking themselves with them as they tried to let go of the hook. Although it lives in many seas of the world, the red does not often have the intense flavor it acquires in Ibiza, probably because of the unique habitat provided by the posidonia and the sandy bottoms, where it is camouflaged to feed mainly on small crustaceans and molluscs, without fear of predators, who cannot see it. In other latitudes, it is also known as sea devil or the red scorpionfish, especially in the Cantabrian, although the Asturians call it tiñosu and the Basques kabrarroka.