Sardines, fresh anchovies, horse mackerels, red mullets and other traditional fishes in Málaga
Málaga owns a fishing ground that can provide Costa del Sol with its famous ‘pescaíto’. Horse mackerels, sardines, fresh anchovies or red mullets are some of the products that go from the coast of Málaga to the chiringuitos and many homes in Málaga. The conditions of the Alboran Sea, where the water from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet, creates great biodiversity that is specially visible in the coast of Málaga and Estepona, known for their reproduction areas and marine species conservation. Among these species, one of the most demanded and famous in Málaga is the fresh anchovy, a little blue fish that, as soon as it is 9 centimetres long, it spawns near the coast. It is consummed both fried and raw (in vinegar). There are several recipes using this fish in Málaga, like yellow fresh anchovy (a soup) or paprika anchovies.
Sardines are also connected to the coast of Málaga because it is served in the famous ‘espeto’, a traditional and ancient way of cooking this blue fish using fire in boats in the sand in the chiringuitos and restaurantes of the coast of Málaga. During the months that have no “r”, from May to August, it is one of the most popular dishes in these establishments. The fhising cuisine also includes other interesting recipes with this fish, like ‘moraga’ or marinated sardines.
Horse mackerels, that normally form shoals near the coast, is another fish that can be enjoyed in restuarants and fishmongers in Málaga. It is so versatile in the kitchen that it can be eaten in a ‘espeto’ or used to make the traditional ‘emblanco’. Other species of fish that are traditionally linked to Málaga are red mullets, mackerels, blue whitings, soles or dogfishes. Many of them are fried or even prepared with sauce. Others are baked, marinated, served in ‘espetos’ or grilled. Dogfishes are the main ingredient of a potato stew or the famous dogfish soup, a very popular soup in the cuisine of Málaga that is normally enjoyed during cold months.
The province of Málaga, with its 200 kilometres of coastline, has important fishing ports and markets where the fishes from the Alboran Sea and the near fishing ground are sold. Most of them are located in the western coast: Málaga, Fuengirola, Marbella and aEstepona, while the eastern coast is only famous in Caleta de Vélez. It is very easy to find sardines, fresh anchovies or horse mackerels, except during temporary fishin ban determined by the authorities.
Fishing in Málaga is as old as the first human settlers. The proof lies in the paintings of the Paleolithic that has been found in some spaces like in the Caves of Nerja. Later, Phoenicians and Romans created salted factories and sold garum in the coastline of Málaga, as the archeological discoveries found in this are have proved. From that period, we still have today some fishing arts and techniques and even boats like fishing smacks.
Fish, in general, has a high content of protein, which provides our body with all the essential aminoacids that a healthy diet needs. It has been proven that a regular consumption of fish helps regulate cholesterol levels due to its richness in fatty acids like omega 3. Other interesting healthy values are magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iodine and vitamins like A, B, D and E. Blue fish, like sardines and fresh anchovies, has more than a 5% of fats.