Located in La Axarquía region, Rincón de la Victoria is a little slice of paradise just 20 minutes from Malaga city. A coastal haven blessed by exceptional weather which is known for its sea caves, dramatic cliffs and long beaches. Breathing peace and quiet, the destination is home to an age-old fishing tradition that is still very much alive. The art of copo fishing is well-known among the locals, as the technique has put food on families’ tables for centuries. Indeed, living from the sea and the land was local destiny. Nowadays, sardines and anchovies are only caught by boats specialising in seine fishing. The series ‘Cocina en Origen’ has come to the town in search of the origins of two of its most legendary dishes: boquerones fritos (fried anchovies) and espetos de sardinas (sardine skewers).Both these specialities come from the sea, specifically the Alborán sea. There’s no better place to source sardines and anchovies than at the fishing port of Caleta de Vélez. Day in day out, tonnes of fish and seafood land at the fish market. In this episode of ‘Cocina en Origen’, Samuel Perea heads to Chiringuito de Amalia, a family-run beach restaurant that is led by Fátima Galindo and her father, Gonzalo Galindo who specialises in making sardine skewers.
If we had to define Fátima’s cookery, “homely” is the word that comes to mind. Fátima learnt the art of frying fish from her mother, Amalia, and she knows everything there is to know about the technique. She cooks for diners at the restaurant with the same love and affection she cooks for her friends and family at home. Gonzalo, on the other hand, is an expert in cooking fish over an open fire. Having selected only the highest quality sardines, he carefully considers the direction of the wind, the type of wood and the distance of the fish from the fire. But the real secret to making his fish skewers so delicious is the love he puts into the process.
Recipe for manojitos de boquerones fritos (fried anchovies)
- Fátima firstly cleans the anchovies (removing the head and guts), placing the fish in iced water.
- She drains the anchovies and adds salt.
- She then covers the fish in hard wheat flour and creates the manojitos (little bundles of five fish to look like a hand, mano means ‘hand’ in Spanish).
- She puts a pan with plenty of extra virgin olive oil over the heat.
- She fries the anchovies for about two minutes (you want them to be a pale colour and soft).
- She then serves the anchovies with a roasted pepper salad, a traditional side to the dish. And it’s time to tuck in!
Recipe for espeto de sardinas
Gonzalo Galindo then shows Samuel Perea how to make sardine skewers. Gonzalo starts by pushing a number of fish onto a skewer, taking care to position them evenly. The fishbone needs to be below the skewer when placed close to the fire, otherwise it will break when turned around as the fillet of the fish has softened. Once the sardines are the right colour, Gonzalo turns them around. They take about 3 minutes on each side, although this depends on the size of the sardine. When the sardines are golden brown on both sides, they are ready to be enjoyed.
Rincón de la Victoria certainly boasts a diverse and delicious culinary tradition, but that’s not all it has to offer. A rich cultural heritage, long beaches and incredible weather all year round, are just some of the main draws of this seaside town. To experience it for yourself, make sure you visit each and every one of its four districts: La Cala del Moral, Rincón de la Victoria, Torre de Benagalbón, on the coast, and Benagalbón, located inland.