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Azores-style fried fish with forkbeard (abrótea frita)

Forkbeard (Abrótea) fried to perfection in pork lard (you read that right) with a pinch kosher salt and a touch of corn flour. Served with potatoes and salad.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Azores, Portugal, Portuguese
Keyword: abrótea frita, forkbeard, hake
Servings: 5 servings


  • 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.