Mero a la Mallorquina
Origin: Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands, Spain
This Spanish recipe hailing from the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands off the East coast of Spain is a relatively simple fish dish that is tasty no matter what fish you end up using. Although when it is served this dish can look a little messy, the taste is extremely delicious and is true, Spanish island food.
A la mallorquina is just a way of preparing a Spanish fish dish which involves cooking the fish with a number of different vegetables on the top if it. By cooking the fish and the vegetables together, the flavours get infused into the fish giving it a wonderful taste. If course, you may use whatever your vegetables you like, but the ones we have listed here (carrots, leeks, etc.) are easily found in most countries around the world and will produce an authentic and tasty version of this Spanish dish - it will be as good as if you order this dish when you visit Spain!
The fish is also variable. We have suggested that you use grouper, which those of you who study Spanish in Spain or abroad will know is 'mero' in Spanish, hence Mero a la mallorquina, is a relatively common fish but you could also use red snapper or striped bass or any other white fleshed fish. It is also best if you cook this Spanish recipe using a whole fish, however you could always just get fish fillets or fish steaks instead. These will also need less time to cook - only around 20 minutes or so.
Mero a la Mallorquina | Grouper in Mallorcan Vegetable Sauce
- 1½ lemons
- 2 artichokes
- 1 whole grouper (5-6 lb), cleaned
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 bunch fennel leaves, plus 1 tbsp extra
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 potatoes (1½ lbs in weight), peeled and cut into thick slices
- 1½ tsps pimentón or paprika
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 scallions, white part only, chopped finely
- 1 leek, cut into thick slice (including green tops)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped finely
- 2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
- 2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 tbsps fine dried bread crumbs
- 1 cup fish stock
- Serves 6
- Squeeze out the juice of half of a lemon into a bowl filled with water and leave to one side.
- Peel off the hard, dark outer leaves of the artichokes and then cut off the stems. Cut off the top two thirds of the leaves and quarter them lengthwise. Then remove the fuzzy choke using a spoon or small knife. Cut the artichokes into small pieces and place them into the lemon water.
- Season the fish both inside and outside with salt and pepper. Slice up the lemon into 4 pieces and put them in the inside of the fish along with the fennel leaves and then leave the fish to one side.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
- In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over a high heat. Then add the potatoes to the pan and fry them for 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally, until they are lightly browned but still undercooked on the inside. Remove the pan from the heat and then arrange the potatoes on the bottom of a large, deep baking tray (large enough to house the fish, the vegetables and the stock).
- Lay the prepared fish on top of the layer of potatoes and then sprinkle the top with pimentón and drizzle the white wine over the fish.
- Drain the artichoke pieces and pat them dry. In a mixing bowl, mix together the artichokes, carrots, leek, scallions, tomatoes and Swiss chard. Mix together well.
- Place the vegetables on the top of the fish - don't worry is some of the vegetables fall to the side. Then sprinkle with parsley, chopped fennel, pine nuts and raisins and finally cover the whole dish with the fine bread crumbs.
- Pour the fish stock gently over the fish and the vegetables and then bake the fish for around 2 hours or until the fish is opaque near the backbone when poked with a knife and the vegetables are tender.
- Remove the fish from the oven and serve the fish and vegetable straight from the pan. Take care as serving the dish can be messy.