This Azores fried fish recipe really hit the spot! It was fried to perfection in pork lard (you read that right) with a little kosher salt and a touch of corn flour. The recipe is actually quite simple to make. The hardest part for me was finding the name for this fish in English. 😂
What is Abrótea called in english?
In all the time we’ve had our blog, I’ve never struggled so much to find a translation for one of our Portuguese recipes. Based on a lot of Googling, I’m pretty sure this fish is called forkbeard (but Liz thinks the internet is messing with me). I also found some references to the fish hake, but then when I reverse translated it, I got back the word ‘pescada’, which is not abrótea. For now I’m leaving it as forkbeard. We’d love to hear your thoughts and knowledge on this in the comments below.
Chances are you found this recipe by googling the the word abrótea and not forkbeard or hake. The important thing is that you found us and our recipe, so yeah! We’re glad you’re here. Let’s get to it.
Is it difficult to fry fish this way?
Not at all! It’s a piece of cake (so-to-speak) to make fried abrótea (abrótea frita). Here’s my summary and some tips:
- I fried the fish in a large cast iron pan, but you can also use a heavy stainless steel pan or even a dutch oven.
- I heated the lard (or oil) to about 360°F. I used enough heated fat to cover roughly half of the fish’s thickness in the pan. You can adjust the amount of oil/lard based on the size of your pan.
- I patted the fish with paper towels to remove excess moisture, salted all the fish evenly in a large bowl, and placed a large plate with white corn flour near the frying pan.
- One by one I patted the pieces of fish in the corn flour to lightly coat each piece, and carefully placed the pieces in the hot oil to start frying. Don’t overcrowd the pan. I fried about 5 pieces at a time. Make sure you have the hood fan on!
- The fish fried on one side for about 7 minutes or until it was crispy and had a light golden colour. I then flipped the fish over and fried it for another 7 minutes.
Lard huh? You wondering why? My reason is sound
Yes, I did this old school. When I spoke to my mom about the recipe, she said “sure, you can cook it in vegetable oil, but it’ll taste even better with lard, the way I used to make it for you”. I’m not going to argue with her. She’s an amazing cook, after all, so I listened. She was right! It was so good and just like I remembered mom making it. Having said that, if lard isn’t for you, vegetable or canola oil will do a great job as well.
Enjoy great memories and great food
You know when a song, a smell or a flavour immediately takes you back to your childhood? This dish did that for me! So delicious. So full of good memories.
You know me, I love all kinds of food, but there’s always something extra special about eating beloved foods from my youth. Meals like this one are about so much more than just food. They’re nourishment for my body and soul.
I hope you have a special dish from your childhood that makes you feel this way too. Maybe you even recall this dish of abrótea, boiled potatoes, and salad, the way I do. I encourage you to give this recipe a try to see what I’m making a fuss about, and I hope you make today yummy!
Azores-style fried fish with forkbeard (abrótea frita)
- 1 whole abrótea or forkbeard (about 3 lbs) cut into steaks
- 1 cup white corn flour
- 2 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 3/4 cups pork lard
- Heat the lard (or oil) to about 360°F. I used enough heated fat to cover roughly half of the fish thickness in the pan. You can adjust the amount of oil/lard based on the size of your pan.
- Pat down the fish with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Place all the fish in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt evenly over the fish. Gently toss the fish pieces to ensure there's salt over all the fish.
- Place a large plate with white corn flour near the frying pan.
- One by one place the pieces of fish in the corn flour to lightly coat each piece and carefully place the pieces in the hot oil to start frying. Don't overcrowd the pan with fish. I fried about 5 pieces at-a-time.
- Fry the fish on one side for about 7 minutes or until it's crispy or a light golden colour.
- Carefully flip the fish over and fry it for another 7 minutes or until the second side is crispy or a light golden colour.
- Set the fish aside on a large paper towel-lined platter.
- Repeat the last three steps until all the fish is fried.
- Enjoy the fish with your favourite side. This dish is often served with a garden salad and boiled potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!
- Feel free to use canola or vegetable instead of lard.
- Make sure to pat the fish dry with paper towels to reduce splattering while the fish fries.
- Make sure you have the fan on.