With its elegant squares and quaint streets lined with whitewashed houses embellished with colourful flowers, Estepona has been dubbed ‘the garden of the Costa del Sol’. Located in a stunning setting, with over 21km of coastline and a fish market, the town and its people will seduce you from the moment you arrive. The restored historic centre, which is one of the prettiest in Andalusia, will immerse you in a verdant garden where tradition and modernity rub shoulders. Estepona preserves the essence of its age-old fishing customs while still looking towards the future.
It should come as no surprise that Estepona’s restaurants showcase their prized local produce - fish and seafood - creating a gourmet experience that foodies will love. Many restaurants specialise in seafood and serve simple, traditional dishes made with fresh and quality fish. This is true at El Pescador, a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean, whose kitchen is run by chef Alfonso Garrido, a seafood fanatic who knows absolutely everything there is to know about fish. Samuel Perea meets him as part of the Cocina en Origen series to learn how to prepare scorpionfish, sourced from Estepona fish market, in two different ways.
Estepona: fishing tradition
Estepona’s fishing tradition is evident in its gastronomy. The majority of restaurants’ menus are filled with dishes sourced from the sea and the local land, such as pescaíto frito (fried fish), espetos de sardinas (sardine skewers, or other fish skewers), clams, wedge clams, prawns and more. The high quality of the produce means that the ingredients need only the simplest of preparations to bring out their exquisite flavour, bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘fast food’. Every morning the fish market provides the finest and freshest produce caught just metres away in the Mediterranean. With Alfonso Garrido, Samuel Perea heads to the market in search of a very special ingredient, scorpionfish, gallineta in Spanish, a fish that lives deep in the sea and packs a punch in flavour.
Scorpionfish, two ways
Alfonso Garrido demonstrates how to prepare scorpionfish in two different ways: deep-frying the bones of the fish and then grilling the fillet. Here is his recipe:
- Descale the scorpionfish and rinse thoroughly.
- Carefully fillet the fish and place to one side.
- Cut the head and the fishbone into pieces.
- Add a pinch of salt and cover the pieces in flour.
- Bring the oil to the boil and deep-fry until golden-brown and crunchy. Salt to taste and serve as an aperitivo.
- Add a slug of extra virgin olive oil to a hot pan and cook the fillets, skin-side first (for about five minutes) before turning over and cooking for a further three minutes.
- Place the fillets in a tray and put in the oven at 180º for 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put some oil in a pot, add a couple of finely sliced garlic cloves, three cayenne peppers and leave to cook. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and leave for a moment for the vinegar to lose some of its acidity.
- Take the fish out of the oven and pour the sauce over the top.
Eating out in Estepona is nothing short of pure joy. Scorpionfish prepared in two ways proves that some of the simplest and easiest dishes are those that really make our palate sing. The delicate flavour of the sea and the tender meat of the fish contrast with the crispiness of the aperitivo served before. Two textures that come together to create a superb meal overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at El Pescador restaurant in Estepona. Live the essence of Estepona at home by preparing the recipe yourself. Check out the video for all the details.