It all started on Twitter the other day when @OstreaEdulis asked me about the breading on some cazón en adobo that he was enjoying in Jerez. I said they were probably using harina para freír … and before I knew it I was in the market yesterday buying some fish and squid to fry. Then I stopped off at the supermarket to pick up some special flour for frying. I don’t fry much at home (prefer to let the tapas bars do it for me) so it had been a few years since I’d used this flour. I’d forgotten how perfect it was, giving a nice even coating and with a lovely “dry” finish – not greasy at all – as you can see in the two top pics (the bottom one is of pan-fried chiperones). Click to enlarge.
More photos and instructions below the links.
At the market I chose some panga for my pescaíto frito, mostly because it was on special offer and because it had kept cropping up on tapas menus and in conversations the past couple of weeks – previously I’d never heard of it. And I still don’t know what the English translation for it is (googling gave conflicting results). But I was curious to try it and it turned out to be a very good choice. Similar to hake, perhaps a bit denser. Then I got some puntillitas, which are baby squid and one of my favourite fried foods to order when I’m out. I also got a few chiperones to pan fry, just because.
After cleaning the chiperones I also cleaned the baby squid, though I was told at the market they only needed to be rinsed off. Well, no way. In fact I may not ever eat puntillitas out again after removing some icky-looking innards and rather large eyes…
I lightly salted the panga and puntillitas (be careful not to oversalt, or just skip this step and sprinkle on some salt after frying), then let sit until everything was room temperature. This is so as not to lower the temperature of the oil too much when adding the fish. The fish and the baby squid were then dredged in the flour, patted to help it adhere to the surface, and then shaken in a sieve to remove excess flour before frying.
The difference with this flour is that it is denser than regular baking flour. It clings to the food well and absorbs less oil. I am told that for a similar effect you can mix 1/4 garbanzo flour to regular flour as harina para freír is only sold in the south of Spain. If you try this let me know how it works out.