The arrival of summer brings with it excellent culinary news, especially for fish lovers who take advantage of these dates to get closer to the area of Cadiz and surroundings. And it is that the dogfish season, protagonist of recipes such as bienmesabe, runs from May to September, with June and July being the best months to enjoy it. So let’s discover together in all the secrets of this little shark belonging to the triachid family.
The first thing that should be made clear is that the dogfish, which usually eaten fried after you’ve been marinated in adobo for hours, is a very versatile food that can be enjoyed in many other ways, although we will see this at the end. So, whether you are a fan of Andalusian frying or not, you should be very attentive.
little blue shark
Although its color is not exactly blue, it is more towards silver gray, we have taken the license to name it that way because this baby shark so popular in Andalusian taverns, it is still an oily fish with excellent properties.
As for its location, we have to talk about a fairly wide extension, since it is practically in the warm waters of all the oceans, at a depth of between 40 and 100 meters. From the Gulf of California to the waters of South America, also covering the entire Mediterranean area and part of South Africa to countries such as Australia or New Zealand. Almost nothing.
It feeds on fish such as sardines, horse mackerel and mackerel, although it does not disgust either crustaceans or some invertebrate animals. And don’t be fooled by that it’s a small shark, because they can be found specimens up to 50 kgwhich are often highly sought after in European markets as they can be cut into large fillets.
The Galeorhinus galeus (aka dogfish), with a cartilaginous body, is easy to identify because it has a flat head, a relatively long snout and oval-shaped eyes. Another of its characteristic features has to do with those small triangular teethenormously sharp, which are the ones that allow it to carry a diet based on mini-sized aquatic animals (such as the ones we have mentioned above).
Three types of dogfish: painted, smooth and catfish
If you have ever taken to investigating the dogfish appearance You may have noticed that the images do not always coincide with what you had in mind. And it turns out that within the Galeorhinus galeus concept we can distinguish between three species different from dogfish:
The Painted Musola (Musola Dentuna Mustelis Canis): Also known as “sweet-mouthed”, it is generally found in Central America.
The Smooth Musola (Musola Mustelus Mustelus): This species avoids rocky waters and prefers to swim in coastal areas. They are found mainly in the Atlantic area, in masses of warm water.
The Musola Gatusa (Gatuzo Mustelus Schmitti): It is the smallest of the three and you can find it swimming in Atlantic, southern Pacific and South American waters.
You should know that any of this species is characterized by carrying out significant migrationsso they usually swim in banks.
Properties of dogfish, beyond being an unbeatable appetizer
As you know, we like to bring out the nutritional benefits of the foods we analyze, especially, as is the case, when they are in full season. And in the case of the dogfish, we anticipate that they are many and very varied.
Of the dogfish we have to highlight, first of all, its high protein content of quality and its low fat percentagewhich makes it a fish really beneficial. On the other hand, as they are proteins of high biological value, we must emphasize that they contain all the essential amino acids that the body needs. That is, in the proper amount and proportion to promote muscle maintenance.
As a curious fact, note that its meat is more tender and easy to digest due to its low proportion of collagen.
Like other fish belonging to the blue family, the dogfish is rich in unsaturated fats. A very recurrent example is always that of the Omega-3 fatty acidswhich provide numerous benefits to our health, including the reduction of the risk of cardiovascular diseases, the prevention of some types of cancer, the improvement of learning capacity and the reduction of stress, among others.
Thanks to its low caloric content, the consumption of dogfish is highly recommended for those overweight people looking to lose weight. And, although it does not stand out for its high content of vitamins, it does have vitamin B complexwhich helps combat neuronal aging, contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system and does its part so that our immune system be in good health. Finally, we have to look at its mineral content, since the proportion of match it provides is almost half of the recommended daily dose.
Cooking with dogfish “around the world”
In addition to being highly appreciated in Cádiz (and throughout Andalusia) when it is cooked in marinade, there are many other options besides bienmesabe (term coined in San Fernando to refer to marinated dogfish). And of those others dogfish recipes We are going to talk to you next!
And for this we are going to visit some of the countries where they usually enjoy this wonder that is almost always marketed fresh or frozen (without viscera or head). In this case, like so many other fish, it is sold in loins or even already cut into pieces. And sometimes, in very specific places, you can find salted or dehydrated dogfish, in the style of cod.
In general, it is a fish that, thanks to its conspicuously white meat, can be used in the preparation of stews, fried or empanadas. In Cádiz, in fact, it is also typical to consume it stewed in yellowwith a sauce of garlic and onion, sliced potatoes, peas, a little white wine and a few strands of saffron that give it that characteristic color.
Dogfish have been consumed in China for more than two thousand years
If we go until Canary Islandswe discovered that the old seafaring tradition was to get the maximum utilization of this fish. And what did they do? Well, they cut it into strips and they left him in the open air. The sun and the sea breeze were already in charge of doing everything possible so that the fish could be eaten dry in salting A tradition that is still very current today, just like the recipes for dogfish cooked with mojo or that tollo that is nothing more than a stew with dogfish strips and made with tomatoes, onions, spices, aromatic herbs and white wine.
It is known that in Venezuelafor example, use it until for the famous arepas. Also for the pisillo de cazón, which is a stew with sofrito to which the fish, spices and fresh coriander are added. While in the Margarita Island (Caribbean Sea)the islanders consume it stewed, in a cake accompanied with fried banana, in Asia it is famous the shark fin soupwhich is considered an aphrodisiac delicacy.
And with this I believe that the universal character of the dogfish and the enormous versatility of this fish that, why not, we could also consider incorporating it into a rice recipe. It is already known that mere is not suitable for all pockets. Before I say goodbye, and so there are no complaints, here is a recipe for Cazón al saffron: an easy, simple and delicious recipe with a traditional flavor. No problem!
In DAP | Shrimp tortillas, the mythical Cadiz recipe
In DAP | Rosada: the fish that has triumphed for decades in Andalusia (but is hardly known in the rest of Spain)